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Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Corvuscorax, Oct 29, 2019.
I know in my heart its wrong, but I will feel very guilty, and get into trouble, if I stop.
Well I think you know the answer to that. It isn’t normal to mark at 3am! Get to bed and catch a few hours before your alarm goes off!
I know it is hypocritical of me to give advice like this whilst also on a teaching forum at 4.30am having not yet been to sleep but I am a raving insomniac!
Its not normal. How did it come about
After you finish teaching each day, marking is probably the biggest draw on your time and can add many hours to your workload each week with teachers easily putting in 60 plus hours each week during term time.
The problem is that the value of marking varies enormously. Yes there are pupils who work hard, take on board your feedback and will always try to improve their work. Unfortunately there are many who do not want to or are unable to benefit from your feedback.
How do you create an assessment and feedback system that meets the learning needs of all pupils, and does not leave you physically and mentally broken in the process.
If you are up all hours marking then you will soon reach a point when you will be unable to continue and will be of no use to pupils or yourself.
You need to change your approach, if you are following a department assessment policy then are your colleagues facing the same problem, how do you all change this situation.
You need to review your approach to marking and consider ways of reducing your workload.
A good starting point is using a lot more peer and self assessment in lessons.
Also standard feedback labels to put in books, I bet half the time you are writing the same comments in books.
If you need to justify this to HOD or SLT then try taking a straw poll of pupils to see how many actually read your feedback and act upon it.
Remember lack of sleep effects your health and judgement, you cannot be a safe and effective teacher if you do not have enough sleep.
It's not normal and nobody should pretend it is.
Lack of sleep can cause serious health problems. You need to take some kind of action on this now.
Did you have half term last week? Did you manage to rest and recharge your batteries? I know that isn’t relevant to your question I’m just concerned about you x
The questions is why you started at 3am. Is this when you get up? Were you working on other things until then? Etc.
What is the reason, you think, that you need to start marking at 3am? If the reason is because the expectation of what is required does not match the time given then someone higher up needs to know. To continue to do so will become unsustainable and you will suffer more in the long run.
Just don't do it. They can wait another day. Really, what is the worst that will happen? A couple of grumbles, which will be quickly forgotten as the lesson goes on. Your life is worth more than one assessment, or piece of homework, far far off the exam countdown. Get some sleep, and get some perspective!
Carry on with this and you will soon feel very ill and may end up in a coffin.
What happens if I don't sleep?
Everyone's experienced the fatigue, short temper and lack of focus that often follow a poor night's sleep.
An occasional night without sleep makes you feel tired and irritable the next day, but it won't harm your health.
After several sleepless nights, the mental effects become more serious. Your brain will fog, making it difficult to concentrate and make decisions. You'll start to feel down, and may fall asleep during the day. Your risk of injury and accidents at home, work and on the road also increases.
Find out how to tell if you're too tired to drive.
If it continues, lack of sleep can affect your overall health and make you prone to serious medical conditions, such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
A friend's daughter is a teacher and ended up signed off for months with stress over workload. She has apparently now made the comments section of marking much easier with a package that she has funded herself. I believe that she initially had to input all the types of statements that she uses and now only has to click to select the ones she wants, printing off onto sticky labels for the books and savings time over writing them out. I'll find out what the product is called.
Where's the proof that this overkill marking is beneficial to the kids?
Do they really pore over your every pen-mark? Do they really internalise it all?
What's wrong with looking at the books and NOT giving individual feedback?
What you do is address common errors at the start of the next lesson. If you have 6 in a class then their parents are paying for individualised marking. We teach in an industrial system. That's not possible. You can get best fit. There's a tolerance. And nobody in the state system can get truly individualised learning. And no teacher can provide it.
Back in the 1960s our work would get a mark out of ten and we'd be required to do Corrections before starting the next piece of work. The teacher might add 'Good work' or (in my case) 'messy work'! I always seemed to get ink on my fingers from filling fountain pens with ink, or my pen would suddenly dislodge an ink blot on my work.
It was obvious to us that if we got an answer wrong, what we had to do to improve was get it right next time!
Our annual reports were very brief too and the comments from all teachers at my grammar school fitted onto one A4 page, along with test results.
One of mr. jubilee's teachers simply wrote 'Insolent child!' one year. Mr jubilee knew the reaction that it would have at home and so he changed the s to a d before taking it home!
If it takes so long then you must be highlighting every single error. A date. Spelling. Punctuation. Everything!
Things that aren't relevant to the subject necessarily or that would be penalised in an exam. Why?
I remember my PE teacher's reports. Every pupil, every term, just the same: "Satisfactory progress."
I also remember a brief report on one Y10: "He slumps." Nothing to add!
It hasn't become normal.
For some people it might be, if it suits their body clock.
But if it doesn't suit you, then don't do it.
I haven't done that for a few years.
It's not good for you.
It isn't okay, go to bed.
Ways I manage my marking load:
I have created 'student friendly marking grids' where students tick whether they are on the skills they need for their assessment. They use these before an assessment, and can also be used to help peer assessment as well as self. Our department policy is much better than others - we mark books once a half term and an assessment once every half term. Still, this gives students more feedback and a chance to be reflective of their own, and each other's work, in a focused way. It took a bit of manual labour to get these set up, but once they're done we can reuse them as a department every year.
I 'yellow box' mark. Google it - it's a thing. My way of doing it is to pick ONE piece of work they have done, a practice paragraph perhaps, and 'deep mark' it with a WWW and EBI comment. All the spider diagrams, general classwork etc don't even get a tick. I don't have time, and writing 'good' 300 times per class does nothing.
Our assessment mark sheets are all typed with the list of assessment criteria in tick box form. They get a tick if they've done it under the WWW heading, they get a X if they need to work on it under the EBI heading. I put 3 comments per page for every assessment, but nothing other than their name, effort and grade on the mark sheet. It has cut down a huge amount of time rewriting the same things over and over again.
Are you able to meet with your HOD and explain how under pressure you're feeling, and propose strategies to help alleviate some of your work load?
Take care of yourself, that is more important than whether a book has been marked or not. You deserve an appropriate work-life balance, and this doesn't seem to be happening at the moment.
Just don't do it. It's not right. It's not good for you. It will make you ill.
Look for another job.
"Take care of yourself, that is more important than whether a book has been marked or not."
Look after yourself Corvuscorax.