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Old 11-21-2012, 07:19 AM
DaTeach's Avatar
DaTeach DaTeach is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 340
4th Grade Teacher
I have 20 minutes planning if I'm lucky. The principal says we have 50 minutes. By the time I escort my class to and from their "activity" and go to the bathroom, I have 20 minutes left. I am supposed have an extra 20 minutes beginning at 2:30, however the designated assistant doesn't show up until 2:45. I usually end up doing my plans Sunday afternoon, which makes for late submission. Now, if our plans are late, we get documentation placed in our employee file. Assistants are pulled for other jobs, and no one is sent in their place. No assistant that day, no planning for me. There is so much work to be done and not time to do it. We as teachers are supposed to be "understanding" because our school is so small. We don't get the same consideration though.
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Old 11-21-2012, 10:29 AM
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eddygirl eddygirl is offline
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 182
High School Teacher
English teacher here...I feel your pain with essay grading!

Here's what I do:

Create a rubric using abbreviations for writing conventions and only write on the student paper if there is something incorrect (i.e. TH=thesis statement, TS=topic sentence, WC= word choice, etc.) Give your kids a list of the abbreviations and what they stand for so they can figure out what they did incorrectly.

Keep comments to a minimum; unless really necessary, I try to limit myself to 2-3 per paper.

Grade the "better" papers first; if you can figure out who are the stronger writers and you grade their papers first, it will feel like you are getting more done. I've found that this helps me "psych" myself out because I see that stack disappearing more quickly.

When I find it hard to sit down and just grade straight through, I grab a stack of papers and grade while watching my favorite TV shows. I try to grade 1-2 papers during the commercial break, and by the time the show is done, I've completed at least 5 papers. You won't get a lot of papers done this way, but since I have a hard time grading 10-20 papers straight through, I let myself enjoy a show and still get work done.

Another thing to check out--does your school subscribe to turnitin.com? If so, you can grade papers from the students' online submissions. It also allows you to create your own rubric.
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Old 11-26-2012, 12:22 PM
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Furthuron Furthuron is offline
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 130
Middle School English teacher
I have not read all of these, so I may be repeating, but I had a similar difficulty during my first teaching job (one hour away, stayed until 8:00 at night, a walking zombie all the time, etc.). It does get better, but you need to take care of yourself (and your job) in the meantime.

I really like having students grade their own work. It doesn't always work at the beginning of the year when they're first learning the ropes, but I just had my 7th graders grade almost their entire writing assignment. I just graded one paragraph. Also, is it possible for you to only grade parts of their essays? On my first set of essays, I only graded their Thesis and Body Paragraph 1. It goes by a lot faster, and they still get some good, solid feedback. Oh, and I devised a grading system for their rough drafts that consists entirely of highlighting. They have to figure out using my chart what they need to change on each section. It engages them, and it makes grading so much easier for me!

As for the little assignments, I have the students place the assignment on their desks when they're doing their start-up activity, and I go around with my seating chart and check them off. It's also a good way to get some face-time and check with students individually who need some feedback or who need some prompting to get their work turned in on time.

Hang in there! It's hard to be motivated, but you just have to do it! Make SMART goals that are measurable, like KateL said earlier. You can stay a bit after school, but just say you have to grade 10 essays (or five, or three).

Also, I used to listen to books on CDof the novels/plays I was teaching on my commute to save time having to read them at home. If that's an option for you, I strongly suggest it.

Long post short, anything that can put more on the students and less stress on you (to a point, obviously) can be very helpful in making them independent learners. Find your balance. It sounds like you're doing well with everything else; grading is just a constant challenge.
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discouraged, overwhelmed, paperwork

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