My students turned in their Trimester 2 Finals on Friday. Yes, the trimester doesn't end until March 3rd, but I allow (and encourage!) rewrites on papers if students are not satisfied with their grades, so I schedule due dates a few weeks in advance. Also, less pressure when the grade cutoff for teachers isn't for a three more weeks. That doesn't mean I'm taking it easy. This time around, in an effort to be as timely and accountable as possible, I set goals for how many papers I'll get through each day. (I blame it on the Self.com Time Makeover I did a few weeks ago. Let's manage that terminal procrastination!)
Papers were due on Friday the 13th (mwahahaha) and my ultimate goal is to have them back in students' hands with response letters on Friday the 20th. Luckily, we have Wednesday off due to our wrestling team making it to State. I've set my goal for 70 papers on that day to keep my counts manageable on weeknights.
Day one got off to a pretty decent start: two more than my original goal of ten. I'm freaking awesome! Did I mention how much it helps to have a student teacher? Now that she's taking over 75% of my teaching load, I can get so much done during the day. Why don't English teachers automatically get an extra period for grading anyway? Don't give me those side eyes, math people. Providing quality response to writing takes a TON of time. I deserve more built into my regular day. I'm sure my district will get right on that after they cap my class sizes and provide me with PD of my choice, too.
And then day two happened. Saturday. See what I did there? I binge-watched Season Two of Orange is the New Black, ate Valentine's chocolate from my mother-in-law, and ignored those papers. Oh, how I ignored them. And I started off so strong!
Bam! I made up for it on Sunday. Sunday might be the sabbath for Christians, but I'm pretty sure it's the weekly "Get Sh*t Done Day" for English teachers. Someone, quick: get me some stats on what percentage of paper-grading is accomplished on Sundays! I thought about working ahead, but I stopped at exactly twenty. This weekend was simply not the time to be an over-achiever.
However, today, this fine Monday, was the perfect day to knock it out of the park. With my student teacher handling the classes like a pro, I decided to actually leave the room (gradual release of responsibility, folks) and hole up in the conference room. I finished all of my 7th graders' papers and response letters! I tripled my goal for the day!
I am so excited I can hardly contain it. I am headed home tonight with no homework! Yes, I still have roughly 75 papers to go (those pesky 8th graders), but I am way ahead of schedule. It is so rare that I put myself in a position to feel this smug about achieving my grading goals, so I'm reveling in it.
The sad part is that it's so unrealistic. This perfect storm of productivity will likely never happen again. When will I ever have a random day off and a student teacher at the same time in order to provide all of the extra free time needed to read and respond to my students without sacrificing my life? Never. This one, glorious week will probably be one of the only times in my life as an English teacher where I can do the most significant part of my job while I'm actually on the job instead of at home.
Teachers always complain about not having enough time. Look at what we could do if we had it.
I teach 7th and 8th grade English in rural Iowa and hope to reflect, connect, and share with other English teachers. Iowa Council of Teachers of English Executive Board member. Iowa Writing Project superfan. UNI MA:TESS graduate.