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Number of classes and marking

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Bonnie23, Oct 1, 2017.

  1. Bonnie23

    Bonnie23 Occasional commenter


    This isn't a huge dilemma but I'm wondering how other people deal with it.

    This year I'm trying to have more of a work/life balance however I have more classes than ever before. This year I have 18 different teaching classes from KS3 right to A-level. I have five exam classes and we have a three week marking policy.

    I like to mark my exam classes at least once every two weeks, sometimes more often especially because we are coursework based.

    My question is how do you manage yours? Even if I marked one class a night during the week I would still not manage to get through my marking. Not every piece has to be assessed but it does have to be assessed at least once by a teacher in that three weeks.

    Many thanks
    install likes this.
  2. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    No real help I'm afraid.
    In a similar situation I created a timetable for all my basic tasks, teaching (obviously), planning (I was creating 3 new schemes of work at the time) and slots for marking - I could fit in only KS 4 and 5 . I then arranged a meeting with the AHT responsible for the marking policy, pointing out, it was impossible for me to mark KS3 books, so what did he suggest?

    Depending on the context you could ask eg line manager for advice ( on the basis of a similar timetable of workload.)

    Sadly, my experience was not successful. The ensuing advice was hopeless (and at times laughable? It included not marking GCSE work so thoroughly I pointed out that the following month he would be asking all staff how GCSE work would be improved - err by doing weekly exam practice, with through marking) . He finally was only able to say, "do the best you can".

    I should point out , I was towards the end of my career anyway.
    install, JohnJCazorla and Bonnie23 like this.
  3. Bonnie23

    Bonnie23 Occasional commenter

    Thank you for your suggestion, I'm sorry it didn't work out.
    install likes this.
  4. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    Oh it worked out for me.
    It was at the point of one of AHT s particularly inane comment that I decided to leave.
    I'm just sorry that option isn't available to more people.
  5. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    Not being unsympathetic, but from the perspective of many years of teaching Y6, marking one set of books per evening sounds like BLISS. In KS2, teachers are generally marking at least 2 sets (English & maths) and often 3 sets (foundation subject / science) of books every evening. And Y6 produce a LOT of work!!!
  6. Bonnie23

    Bonnie23 Occasional commenter

    How long roughly does it take you to mark a class set for one subject? I think I'm a slow marker which is why it's taking me so long, I need to find ways to speed it up. I understand the work has to be marked, at the moment I'm just trying to find strategies to do it efficiently.
    install likes this.
  7. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I do lots of lessons which don't generate marking...my classroom is full of children's work!
    I use peer and self marking as much as possible.
    I mark during lessons as often as I can.

    On top of that:
    I work in a school with sensible and pragmatic marking policies.
    I have 18 children in my largest class and I only teach them for one single lesson a week. The other classes have about 12 children each.

    You can't do anything about pupil numbers, nor your school's policy, but you can plan work so you don't give yourself a whole heap of marking.
    saluki, Tinycat1234 and delmamerchant like this.
  8. delmamerchant

    delmamerchant Established commenter

    I agree. loads of green pen activities and peer assessment.
    install and Bonnie23 like this.
  9. drek

    drek Star commenter

    It's impossible to compare like for like.
    I have 7 groups with an average of 30 students in each. Our policy is every two to three weeks.

    210 students each doing between 3 to 6 lessons per week. Each lesson covers two to three new learning objectives. That's the only way to cover the entire curriculum or else.......

    I pick one piece of work to highlight the good and what to do next - highlighted in lessons whilst they are doing independent work. May take a couple of lessons to get through everyone......no long detailed sentences required anymore.....thankfully
    One for peer marking
    One for self assessment - usually the homework which they mark in a different coloured pen.
    Every 4 - 5 weeks they complete an end of unit assessment which has to be marked by the teacher..
    ..I'm working on the HOD to change that to peer or self in a different pen which we then look over and sign off rather than mark 210 x 7 pages of questions........... 30 papers usually takes about 2 hours to mark on avg (depends on exhaustion rate) lol
    Students then do a reflection based lesson on their own progress. Fortunately we don't have to write the wwws and ebi's anymore.
    Someone 'very important' must have finally done the maths and realised why a few teachers on full load timetables per department are always on the verge of collapsing or resigning....and that it's not because they are the 'lazy'...... ones......completely the opposite in fact.

    Big Question......

    How many leadership skills are tested by using 'policies' to impose an impossible workload onto others?
    install likes this.
  10. drek

    drek Star commenter

    By the way all of the above is not my way....it's the schools or departments le grand expectations that a teacher with 210 students, of which 75 percent are EAL, PP and or SEN has 3 planning periods to fit planning marking reporting and assessing in the same time as a person teaching 60 students because they have to use all their free time writing reports of evidence based strategies for improvement for OFSTEd.......
    install likes this.
  11. Christopher  Curtis

    Christopher Curtis Occasional commenter

    I have never experienced the nonsense of teaching in England, so I look at the issue from a different perspective.

    First of all, no teacher should have 18 different classes. It was mathematically impossible for any teacher to have more than seven in my last school, and few could have had even that number. All subjects were either 4.5 or 3 periods a week (we had a fortnightly timetable), and the maximum timetabled teaching was 21 48-minute periods a week (16 hours and 48 Minutes) plus a home group (nine minutes a day) plus an extra once a fortnight. The maximum class size was 25 students (as is the rule in Victorian secondary schools), so the maximum number of students for any teacher was 175. The average class was 21.3 students, so you would have had to be very unlucky to have had 175 students. As all year 11 and 12 subjects, all but one year 10 subject and all English and maths classes had 4.5 periods, most teachers had fewer than 7 classes and thus fewer than 175 students. You need much better working conditions.

    Secondly, no school I have ever taught in had such a thing as a requirement to mark a certain number of pieces of work in a certain way. Teachers were regarded as professionals.

    Thirdly, why does anyone use books? Looseleaf paper in folders was standard practice when I began teaching in 1974.
  12. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    What a lot of words on the subject of marking without even mentioning the word "useful"
    That's quite a feat, such restraint!

    Edit-lest that be misconstrued, I meant in the whole thread, not just the last post (which I really enjoyed.)
  13. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter

    OMG 16/17 hours! Even in my probationary year; nowhere near this! 20 and it was bliss! Now 22 and 23 out of 25 per week 1 and 2! You Victorians must be a happy lot, I bet your kids are happy too ( the ones you teach and your own). Anyway sitting here seething with jealousy. To the op; there is no way to do it like they want, just do what you can and hope the bar stewards aren't out to get you. Worked for me so far, but I do feel like I'm not long for the game.
    install likes this.
  14. Christopher  Curtis

    Christopher Curtis Occasional commenter


    The more I read this site the more I think that being “useful” is not one of the criteria for doing anything in education in England.

    Assessment can be summative, to inform the student and the parents the standard the student has reached, or it can be directional, pointing out what the student needs to work on. I provided comprehensive feedback without having to write much by the use of criteria sheets, which each student had a copy of. The year 11 English one listed the assessable work horizontally and the following criteria vertically:


    Language analysis





    Aptness of structure

    Selection of ideas

    Coherence & dev’t

    Expressiveness and Fluency

    Accuracy of language







    Engagement w. aud.

    I would write a series of Vs, Hs, Ms, Ls, Ws (Very Low) and Ns across the bottom of a piece of work in the order of the criteria for each student to copy to his or her own sheet. I would record the same on the student’s sheet on my computer, which was linked to the mark list for the class.

    Not all work was assessable, so not all work was comprehensively marked.
    install likes this.
  15. Christopher  Curtis

    Christopher Curtis Occasional commenter


    Not all is sweetness and light here. Some things are worse than they were 30 years ago. But, what teachers here have is what they fought for long ago, starting from before I even became a teacher. There were three main teacher unions. The one I belonged to was the Victorian Secondary Teachers Association, which was for high school teachers. It demanded a set of decent conditions on teaching loads, class sizes and time allowance. If these conditions were breached in a school, teachers in that school would stop work. That meant that teachers in strong union schools in the 1970s had good conditions. Eventually, what they had won was applied across the whole state in 1982 and slightly improved in 1983. Those conditions were taken away by the use of retrospective legislation in 1992, leaving the battle to be fought again school by school. They have never been returned across the state because the AEU, the amalgamation of the three unions that existed in the 1970s, is very weak, but under the 2000 EBA, schools with strong and smart union branches were able to get decent conditions back. Most union branches were too dumb and/or weak to do so, and the AEU signed a worse EBA in 2004, endorsed by over 80 per cent of teachers, preventing any school from doing so. The AEU signed another EBA in 2008 that had an accompanying memorandum of understanding that would have improved teaching loads and then told teachers not to insist on its enforcement. Well over 80 per cent of teachers endorsed it and I have not heard of a single school that insisted it be enforced. The AEU no longer even pretends to try to get back all the conditions stolen from teachers and the ones it pretends to try to get back it always gives up on - and teachers always back it, and then complain about their workload. Even so, conditions are still markedly better than in England, but that is because of the efforts of my generation, not the current one. This comment would be far too long if I were to go into all the details of conditions changes in Victoria. The key message is that teachers get what they are prepared to fight for.
    install likes this.
  16. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    Depends on the task they have done.
    A piece of extended writing in English could take 4 hours+; a grammatical exercise, perhaps 40 minutes (given the need to write 'next steps' for everyone). Maths - around 40 minutes. Science - again, depends on the task. A write-up of an experiment - 90 minutes, but most tasks take less. Foundation subjects - 40 minutes.
    English & maths are daily lessons, so books have to be marked each day, unless the work has not been done in their books.
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  17. Bonnie23

    Bonnie23 Occasional commenter

    Just to clarify I have a one week timetable of 30 lessons and teach 27 hours out of the 30. Averaging 26 students in a class.
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  18. install

    install Star commenter

    Great post. This deserves a trophy :cool:
  19. install

    install Star commenter

    STOP IT! No need for this negativity on forums...:(:(
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2017
  20. install

    install Star commenter

    Lots of peer marking in lessons in purple.Live red marking with responses in green showing progress and improvement. :):):)
    Bonnie23 likes this.

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