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Managing marking workload

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by Angelil, Mar 13, 2012.

  1. Angelil

    Angelil Occasional commenter

    (x-posted also to the English forum)
    Hello everyone :)
    I've been teaching since 2008, which I started doing on a part-time basis, but through my own choice my hours have been steadily increasing (I now teach 17 hours a week instead of the initial 8 and I also do 2 hours a week of private tuition on top of this).
    With the increase in hours/classes has also come an increase in the size of my classes. My classes had about 20 and 8 students respectively when I started; those same 2 classes now number 33 and 20. In total I'd say I teach about 70 students if I include all my classes and private tuition. On top of this I have 43 students in my homeroom to run around after!
    Naturally when I started I was able to take each child's book once a week and mark it fully with grades and comments. This is getting increasingly difficult to sustain (as you can imagine, teaching English means the written work often requires considerable commentary), especially given that I also have a very long commute (75-90 minutes each way) which makes me very tired.
    I am therefore trying to think of new strategies to manage marking. It's really my bugbear and I feel I spend all of my time doing it. I have already thought of some ideas (such as marking exams in class and seeing individuals afterwards, as they don't all need the same level or type of feedback), but would be really grateful for any more suggestions to reduce or streamline this aspect of the workload. I am an unqualified teacher so have never received instruction on managing this before and have just had to find my own way.
    Thanks in advance :)
     
  2. Angelil

    Angelil Occasional commenter

    (x-posted also to the English forum)
    Hello everyone :)
    I've been teaching since 2008, which I started doing on a part-time basis, but through my own choice my hours have been steadily increasing (I now teach 17 hours a week instead of the initial 8 and I also do 2 hours a week of private tuition on top of this).
    With the increase in hours/classes has also come an increase in the size of my classes. My classes had about 20 and 8 students respectively when I started; those same 2 classes now number 33 and 20. In total I'd say I teach about 70 students if I include all my classes and private tuition. On top of this I have 43 students in my homeroom to run around after!
    Naturally when I started I was able to take each child's book once a week and mark it fully with grades and comments. This is getting increasingly difficult to sustain (as you can imagine, teaching English means the written work often requires considerable commentary), especially given that I also have a very long commute (75-90 minutes each way) which makes me very tired.
    I am therefore trying to think of new strategies to manage marking. It's really my bugbear and I feel I spend all of my time doing it. I have already thought of some ideas (such as marking exams in class and seeing individuals afterwards, as they don't all need the same level or type of feedback), but would be really grateful for any more suggestions to reduce or streamline this aspect of the workload. I am an unqualified teacher so have never received instruction on managing this before and have just had to find my own way.
    Thanks in advance :)
     
  3. My advice would be to get some stampers with comments that you are always writing, I use these people : http://www.superstickers.com/ That way you speed up your marking and I find the students (regardless of age) like stamps and read the comments.
    Self/peer assessment in class will help you out and your students, so it is worth training them in it.
     
  4. Joannanna

    Joannanna New commenter

    A few ideas, just from how I do it. I teach one of every year group from year 7 to year 13, the smallest class size is 17 in my year 13 class.
    1. You cannot do it every week. I aim for once every 3 weeks with lower school and 'as and when' with upper school (we operate a no-exercise book policy in upper school which means you can just take in sheets of paper which need marking)
    2. I plan for easing my marking. For example, I will usually only get lower school to write 2 pieces of extended writing for each time I mark them so I will then mark those in detail and some of it can just be ticked and flicked, or marked in class. I will also get students to share their writing outloud so I can comment on it verbally.
    3. When you do mark in detail, learn some shorthands which you can explain to your class. Don't correct every spelling etc etc. Sometimes make them do the corrections themselves as a starter activity. This also gives you the opportunity to speak to individuals if you need to.
    4. Peer marking can be worthwhile (I've had it succeed and fail miserably!) but when it does work, I've sometimes just written 'Yes, what he/she said!' next to a student's comment!
    5. I also plan for times of year. For instance, round about now is insane exam time, with A Level and GCSE coursework coming to a head. Year 7 have therefore been doing a lot of speaking and listening, whilst year 8 have understood that they have to wait for stuff to be marked. Something has to give after all.
    6. If a class is doing a timed essay, I will use that time to mark something.
    It's something that never ends and I still stupidly overbook myself with assessments and books and essays and stuff. I'm planning to help myself this summer by shifting 4 of my year 10s controlled assessments off the to-do list cause I cannot face getting to the position I am in this year again!
     
  5. Angelil

    Angelil Occasional commenter

    Love the idea about stamps and thanks for the recommendation!
    I think I definitely need to reduce how often I take the books :p Part of the problem is that I see Grade 7 every day so don't have much time in between taking their books and seeing them again.
    I already encourage students to check their own spellings by just circling or underlining the incorrect word; I don't write out the correct spelling as they need to look it up themselves. Corrections as a starter is a great idea - thank you.
     
  6. kittylion

    kittylion Established commenter

    I use stampers too - I have loads of different ones, and sometimes I print labels out with comments on which I use a lot - perhaps leaving a blank., Eg "For this piece of work you have achieved a Level ... To achieve the next level you (we - if you haven't taught it yet) need to include future tense as well as present / connectives, opinions and reasons - or whatever.
     

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