Our hall monitor and I are talking about school. Kids are done with classes, so we are here on our own, grading, putting things in order, the usual. I've confided that this is my time to look busy. I'm not busy at all, but I need to look busy because most everyone else is terribly busy and will ask me to do some of their work. I'm not into that.
Maybe this makes me seem like a bad colleague.
Teaching is a good job, but grading sucks. I don't know anyone who enjoys grading or all the time it involves. One guy said he enjoyed reading student writing, and maybe he did, but I only enjoy reading as they're writing and working through the process. Once the piece is done, grading is mostly a bother. I write comments but they don't teach. They are to justify the grade which is usually lower than the kid wanted.
Grading is something I work to avoid. I've found ways around most grading and, no surprise, seen no ill effects on learning. When I do have to grade stuff such as the final exam, I suck it up and grade the damn thing.
But that doesn't mean it has to take much time.
A teacher here is lamenting the time it will take him to grade the finals. "I'll be at it all week." I nodded and shrugged hoping he wouldn't ask what he then asked. "They take forever, don't they?" I nodded and shrugged some more. I hate to lie, but if I tell him I've finished grading, he won't believe me but word might get out that I'm done, and I can't have that.
I am ordered to give a final and grade it. I don't want to run afoul of my admins (I prefer they forget I exist). I want to do my job well. I'm not looking for shortcuts around the directive. I actually like giving final exams. It's four days during which kids have incentive to work hard and be quiet. This year, to make things more peaceful and like real testing, I barred phones and headphones during the test. It went great.
The other teacher imagines I have a huge stack of finals to grade, but I don't.
Kids finished the final in dribs and drabs. As they finished the final, I graded it. The multiple choice is cake. Takes a minute. The essay has a strict rubric (from the state exams), and I've graded enough of them that I can do one in three minutes. Then there's a piece of free-writing graded largely on how much they wrote and how well they thought. That takes two minutes but only because I like reading them. Each final takes no more than six minutes to grade and I finished them as they came in.
Don't tell, but all my finals are graded and recorded.
Years ago I watched a teacher calculating grades from a paper gradebook with calculator. She was frustrated. It was taking forever. I asked, why not use a spreadsheet? She said she didn't want to take the time to learn how. I nodded and shrugged, bowing out of the room. She looked flustered and rushed. She had a lot of work to do. I went back to my room and probably read a book after closing my door.
This year, my spreadsheet has calculated the grades. I haven't entered them into the school's system yet. Better to do that closer to the due date. Until then, I've got my computer out to do this writing. Around the computer I have paper printouts of grades, a thick folder full of final exams, and a binder full of plans for next year. In a tab I have my spreadsheet and I click into it whenever anyone comes in to talk with me. I look busy as hell, so they don't stay long. And I am busy. I'm writing this. So don't bother me.