Steeling Myself

The good news is that I have completed a semester’s worth of teaching.

The bad news is that I must somehow complete a semester’s worth of grading, if I can, in four and half days.

That includes those grades that will, inevitably, be less than a ‘C,’ thus requiring these students I have come to know and like (well some of them) to retake the class they worked hard at (well some of them) all semester long.

But right now I am not thinking about them. I am thinking about me and my goal. I am steeling myself for the big plan– 48 portfolios in 4 and half days. Can I do it? At 45 minutes each, that leaves me grading about 8 hours per day.

Colin suggests a simple plan of grade-nap-grade-exercise-grade-sleep. I agree, although I am thinking of injecting about 10 cups of green tea and five or so frustration-removing Clementines (peel peel peel the anger away!) per day, as needed.

Any other suggestions?

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Elizabeth Howard

Elizabeth writes literary non-fiction, haiku, cultural rants, and Demand Poetry in order to forward the cause of beautiful writing. She teaches and speaks about the rhetorical impact of beautiful writing. A recent transplant to Connecticut, she calls London, Kansas City, and Iowa home. 

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  5 comments for “Steeling Myself

  1. Greg Phillips
    December 8, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    Different year, same problem — and in eleven year of teaching, it’s never gotten better for me. Mary Poppins had it right: well begun is half done. Start now, work briskly, and try not to take it personally when a student you’ve worked hard on Just Doesn’t Get It. Build rewards into your schedule, but make yourself earn them. And get enough sleep. It makes a huge difference.

    Good luck.

  2. December 8, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    Good plan… so far so good anyway. End of first half day and have 6 of 48 down. Only person,so far, that Just Doesn’t Get It, sad to say, was my dear Mom. I asked her (she’s retired Math teacher) to help me figure how many portfolios I would have to do to get them all done in 4 1/2 days. That’s 48 portfolios at 45 minutes each in 4 1/2 days. She first replied: “That 2 hours of work each day…” and then “You can get 60 done today!” Oh no! The decimel point has gone awry!

  3. Stacy
    December 9, 2008 at 8:18 am

    NEVER beat yourself up over a student’s grade. This is what they earned, not what you gave. And don’t do too many in a row. You will either start grading easier because you’re getting tired or will start grading harder because you’re getting frustrated. Make a Key that allows you to award points for different categories – this always helped me keep it fair, especially when I wanted to just go watch TV.

    Good Luck!

  4. Jeannie
    December 9, 2008 at 8:22 am

    I say watch TV while you grade…

    Actually, I’m wondering why you’re doing portfolios. I threw that system out as soon as I could. Your life will suck less at finals if you could implement assigning grades throughout the semester. Not that my life won’t suck this week, but at least my English II essays are only part of what will be grading. (There will also be tests, make-up homework, and lit essays).

  5. Will Vandenberg
    December 10, 2008 at 10:00 am

    Two words – FOOT MASSAGE!!!

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