Thursday, December 19, 2013

How to "Relax" While Grading

I am currently the only experienced teacher for two of the three grade levels I teach. Due to this, I get asked a lot of questions about curriculum,  classroom management, and anything else you can think of. I don't mind it at all because it allows me to reflect on my own teaching in a way I never would have before.

I am a third year teacher so I am still fairly new at the whole teaching profession. This year, however, I feel like I have aged ten years since I'm the "experienced" teacher.

Recently,  the biggest question that has been asked of me has been "How do you not lose it while grading exams?"

Our students all have short answer questions where they must answer each question in two paragraphs or more. If you know anything about teaching high school English, you know this can be a very disheartening process due to the utter crap we sometimes get. It becomes very hard not to go crazy.

In the past, I jokingly said "alcohol" to this question. This year, I say it and mean it to the point that I scheduled a "grading party" at the local bar where we sometimes go for after work drinks.

Now, before you jump down my throat,  I'm not advocating being drunk for grading or even having a slight buzz. I'm advocating getting out of the classroom and grading with friends in an atmosphere where you feel relaxed and at ease. You grade better in those conditions.

The four teachers went out and we graded. No, we did not grade as many papers as we would have alone and at school but guess what. At the end of it, we were more relaxed and willing to grade more when we got home then of we had graded alone at school.

Sometimes all it takes is a change of atmosphere to make one of the worst parts of our jobs enjoyable. So the next time you see teachers grading in the bar, don't be offended.  Understand that they need the break from school but can only do so if they grade.

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