Get Behind at Grading! A Guide.

[this was the start of vacation; it looks much better now]

I figured that there are a lot of teachers, or potential ones, out there, that might need a little help figuring out how to bury themselves in a grading hole. Imagine this: you're ten feet below ground, surrounded by dirt and your students just walk by and start tossing their papers in on you. You furiously grade as fast as you can, but the papers just float faster and faster. Soon, you're entire body is covered in essays, paragraph analysis writing, extra credit assignments, quizzes, explications, and tests. Who could not possibly enjoy this experience? What doesn't sound blissfully wonderful about slowly being smothered by copy paper? Well, lucky for you, my fellow educators, who I'm sure know nothing on the topic, I'm here to help. Let me be your guide.*

1. Assign projects, papers, and tests at the same time- Why space things out? Never! Next week assign your students an essay, a notebook of work, and a test. Fun for hours! Bonus points if you teach different courses and you seem to always assign things that take longer to assess at the same time.

2. Have a child!- Of course you will love and adore your little time suck, but he or she will constantly need or want you. Child is in a good mood? Awesome, let's play! You are so cute and fun! Child is hungry/tired/teething/has a cold? Fabulous, please, whine at me some more. Sure, latch on to my legs as a I walk, it's cool.   

3. Give students in-class essays or tests so you can get things graded- Oh what, they work faster than you can grade? You can't grade five sets of essays while, in a day, your five periods produce five more sets of essays? It sounds so logical... in theory. BUT IT'S NOT AND YOU WILL END UP WORSE OFF. And you will never learn. 

4. Overestimate your abilities- Absolutely, you can totally grade fifteen stacks of papers tonight! Who cares that it's Thursday and it's been a long week. You can do it! Oh, what? It's ten and you're exhausted and you want to go to bed? Oh wait, your work is still in the car? You have to be up at five and will probably be woken up a few times in between? What a loser. 

5. Try to have a social life- Those pesky friends and your desire to, you know, see them, can be such an issue. Friends over for dinner on Saturday? Brunch on Sunday? Are your friend smart? Have they read Running in the Family? Are they good at analyzing rhetorically? Yes? Give them a rubric and party! 

6. Marry someone who wants to hang out with you- Apparently, those men exist. Guys who want to spend time with their wives. Pre-married me thought that was a myth. It's not. My husband loves me and thinks I'm super fascinating and fun and wants to do more than just eat dinner together (maybe I'm exaggerating, a smidge). 

7. Have hobbies- Hobbes are an amazing way to get behind at grading (unless your hobby is grading, hardyharhar). Can you run and grade? Can you read a novel and grade? Can you do twenty sun salutations and grade? Can you write blog posts and grade? Can you bake cookies and grade? Can you spend hours contemplating what to buy online and grade?  The answer? No. No. No. No. Maybe. No. 

8. Sleep- You need to drive, form coherent sentences, and remember to match your shoes to your outfit. Plus, if you're sleepy you can't really grade well, because you'll find yourself either getting a little snotty with the comments (well, more than normal) or reading the same page seventeen times with no clue what the kid was saying. 

*Obviously, this is tongue-in-cheek, and typical of the end of the semester (three more weeks!), And while I know some teachers "forget" to grade things or "misplace" assignments, that's not something I do. Being behind as an English teacher (who is also a wife, mother, friend, and person who has actual interests) is pretty much the norm. It's stressful, absolutely, but it comes with the territory. I can also joke around about it now that I've made a solid dent in my stacks,  not to say I'm caught up. 

Three more weeks! Three more weeks! 

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