I never get into a debate about marking and who has the most to mark, as it always ends in bloodshed or death. For years, I have always stood back. There is always somebody worse off. I might have to read the termly equivalent of three ‘War and Peace’s a term, but the poor PE teacher has to spend most of their day in the rain outside. Yes, it might get warm in the summer, but rarely does it stop raining. The Drama teacher has to run after school sessions and the Science teacher has to prepare for an experiment. It is all relative, but just one day I’d love an English exam paper that was made up of simple right and wrong answers. Instead I get bucket loads of writing and I spend the time sifting for gold. Like those in the Gold Rush, there is a lot of effort and it rarely produces gold. Too many times it produces fool’s gold.
The problem I have with marking is time. The time it takes to mark it. The time left of my free time to do it. The time I have left over to call my life. When I became an English teacher, I held a copy of the complete works of William Shakespeare and swore the following oath:
A red (green if your school has gone P.C.) pen
A classroom full of students
I did this last week and it works as a great way to show impact and to push students. Students were set the task of writing a description of a creepy room. They busily wrote for ten minutes. Then, I called students up to my desk one at a time, or, if they wanted to come me. I read the work and then scribbled some comment on their work. They then carried on writing or restarted the task. They could only write the work out in neat if they had passed my strict quality control procedures. Like a flowchart, they had to produce a certain quality before they could move on.