Grading always seems to be on my list of things to do. I can be very good at finding other tasks to do. I can design new lessons, create handouts, photocopy quizzes, research ideas, or talk to students or coworkers. The teacher in the room next door to me calls it “workcrastinating.” She is very good at it, too.
I am even doing it right now. I have essays to grade. Long essays. Some with many errors. Some that will have enough red pen marks to make the paper look like I sacrificed a farm animal on it. I am using hyperbole, of course; most of the essays will be well written. I have graded half of them already and have been very pleased with the creativity and writing abilities of the students. Their previous teachers had done a great job. Now, if I can keep from messing it up…
I grade essays the same way the students write them – we break it into chunks. They will write an introduction one day, a body paragraph another day, another body paragraph another day, etc. Similarly, I will grade a class of essays, then do some chores. Grade some more; eat. Grade some more; sleep. Grade some more; play ball tag with a bowling ball with my children. It may take me a few days or weeks, but I have always managed to have them graded by the time they graduate.
Little breaks or changing a task keeps my mind more alert and allows me to stay fresh. Otherwise, I could fall asleep on the last few essays and drool all over them. Nothing is more embarrassing than handing back an essay with red marks and dried drool on it. Luckily, right now, I still have kids at home that I can blame the drool on.
We all get the feeling of being overwhelmed or whelmed. (Really, they have the same definition. Whelmed was around first.) Writing, reading, and planning lessons mitigate my stress, so I know I am in the right, or dare I say “write,” profession. I hope your days will be relatively stress free.