1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Reducing marking? Plus - 'unhelpful' (ahem) HOD

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by headflower, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. headflower

    headflower New commenter

    Hi,
    I'm a secondary Science teacher, teach 22 lessons per week. I have 3 'frees;' 45 min's lunch; meetings / clubs 4 out of 5 school nights.
    Currently I do my planning at weekends and have whittled this down to 2 - 3 hours. Hubby has installed 'Google Desktop,' which searches every document I've ever written and automatically finds every relevant website I've ever visited when I enter key-words - it's reduced my planning hugely. In less than 4 years, our school is on its third KS3 SOW, so I have few 'old' lessons that I can re-use.
    All my students have one piece of homework marked per week - we mark together at the start of the lesson most of the time. I only rarely set homework tasks that I have to mark.
    I am still finding it impossible to stay on top of marking and this is not helped by our 'over-zealous' HOD.
    We have always had 'book-monitoring' on a termly rotation - we used to provide 6 books per group, 2 top students, 2 average, 2 bottom from each group. We'd swap books and check the following - Date, Title & L.O. for every lesson, books completely marked, 'WW-EBI' feedback given about once a week. Then we'd fill in a short form on the pc. Fine.
    Darling HOD has decided this is not good enough. On the last day of term I found her typing PAGES of feedback, with a look of glee on her face,and the teachers' initials next to her comments where she'd decided we'd failed. We had to provide every book for a whole year-group, old and current books from September to the present. She has counted how many spelling mistakes we have found in each book. We still haven't received this feedback and another round of checking is happening in a matter of days.However, one of my student's books had no spelling mistakes. She confidently told me this was impossible. It's not - bright student, only copying notes of the bl**dy board for goodness' sake!
    Oh yes, none of the other HODs are monitoring in this way - I asked.
    I've tried everything I can to reduce the amount of marking I have to do (and yes, I realise that as a Science teacher I am luckier regarding the amount of written work than English or Humanities teachers.) I have tried:
    Setting more practicals with worksheets - just a few boxes to tick
    PC-based activities - I book an IT suite approx. once a week for each teaching group - if one is available. However, I need to find more tasks that they can receive a mark for automatically as I still end up marking most of these.
    Self- and peer-assessment: This is difficult; many of the students I teach cannot recognise that they have spelled a key word in three different ways in one paragraph (and the key word was on the board! Weeps quietly to self........!)
    HOD really hates me as I have 'raised concerns' about her behaviour on several occasions in the past; I've told the others in our department that it's their turn to step up and protest. I won't hold my breath - I appear to be the only one who isn't afraid of her. If we treated our students the way she treats us, we would (quite rightly) be facing a disciplinary hearing at the very least -
    Constant criticism;
    No 'Please, thank you' - just orders barked at us;
    Constantly stomping around looking angry;
    People who ask for help, or just stating that they are stressed, over-tired being told: 'If you can't handle teaching, perhaps you should look for another job.'
    Help!!
    Simi x
     
  2. headflower

    headflower New commenter

    Hi,
    I'm a secondary Science teacher, teach 22 lessons per week. I have 3 'frees;' 45 min's lunch; meetings / clubs 4 out of 5 school nights.
    Currently I do my planning at weekends and have whittled this down to 2 - 3 hours. Hubby has installed 'Google Desktop,' which searches every document I've ever written and automatically finds every relevant website I've ever visited when I enter key-words - it's reduced my planning hugely. In less than 4 years, our school is on its third KS3 SOW, so I have few 'old' lessons that I can re-use.
    All my students have one piece of homework marked per week - we mark together at the start of the lesson most of the time. I only rarely set homework tasks that I have to mark.
    I am still finding it impossible to stay on top of marking and this is not helped by our 'over-zealous' HOD.
    We have always had 'book-monitoring' on a termly rotation - we used to provide 6 books per group, 2 top students, 2 average, 2 bottom from each group. We'd swap books and check the following - Date, Title & L.O. for every lesson, books completely marked, 'WW-EBI' feedback given about once a week. Then we'd fill in a short form on the pc. Fine.
    Darling HOD has decided this is not good enough. On the last day of term I found her typing PAGES of feedback, with a look of glee on her face,and the teachers' initials next to her comments where she'd decided we'd failed. We had to provide every book for a whole year-group, old and current books from September to the present. She has counted how many spelling mistakes we have found in each book. We still haven't received this feedback and another round of checking is happening in a matter of days.However, one of my student's books had no spelling mistakes. She confidently told me this was impossible. It's not - bright student, only copying notes of the bl**dy board for goodness' sake!
    Oh yes, none of the other HODs are monitoring in this way - I asked.
    I've tried everything I can to reduce the amount of marking I have to do (and yes, I realise that as a Science teacher I am luckier regarding the amount of written work than English or Humanities teachers.) I have tried:
    Setting more practicals with worksheets - just a few boxes to tick
    PC-based activities - I book an IT suite approx. once a week for each teaching group - if one is available. However, I need to find more tasks that they can receive a mark for automatically as I still end up marking most of these.
    Self- and peer-assessment: This is difficult; many of the students I teach cannot recognise that they have spelled a key word in three different ways in one paragraph (and the key word was on the board! Weeps quietly to self........!)
    HOD really hates me as I have 'raised concerns' about her behaviour on several occasions in the past; I've told the others in our department that it's their turn to step up and protest. I won't hold my breath - I appear to be the only one who isn't afraid of her. If we treated our students the way she treats us, we would (quite rightly) be facing a disciplinary hearing at the very least -
    Constant criticism;
    No 'Please, thank you' - just orders barked at us;
    Constantly stomping around looking angry;
    People who ask for help, or just stating that they are stressed, over-tired being told: 'If you can't handle teaching, perhaps you should look for another job.'
    Help!!
    Simi x
     
  3. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    You don't seem to have much non contact time in addition to PPA. Perhaps you need to give up your after school clubs - and how many of these are actually meetings?
    That in itself doesn't seem an impossible marking load.
    How does she find time for her own teaching and marking? Who monitors her books? Do you really have a student whose book consists only of notes copied from the board?
    In that case perhaps you should take your concerns to her line manager - presumably the Curriculum Deputy.
    Par for the course, unfortunately. I've come across very few teachers prepared to stand up and be counted.
    Have you documented all this with dates/times/people present? Have you approached your union regarding the possibility of instigating a grievance?








     
  4. You need to read the dept marking policy. That should give clear guidance on how and when books should be marked. Most schools would expect books to be marked every 3-4 weeks at most, ours is 3 weeks. Your HOD is bound by this, not anything else she may see fit, so if her new advise differs to this take it up with someone higher than her.

    Carry on with the peer and self assessment, you need to train them to do this. I always have a couple of peer assessment comments read out and students comment on the comments and fairness of the marking. You are only required to attend 1 one hour meeting per week and dump the clubs.
     
  5. headflower

    headflower New commenter

    Hi!
    Thanks so much for getting back to me :) As for the after-school activities, only one is optional:
    Mondays I have no after-school activities;
    Tuesdays - Yr 11 revision and catch-up;
    Wednesdays - meetings on a rota - Whole staff, training, departmental etc.
    Thursdays - Yr 10 BTEC coursework catch-up;
    Fridays - 'Brilliant Biology' - the only thing that is mine and that I really enjoy :)
    As for the marking, I was saying what I actually DO rather than what I (supposedly) should be doing - all pages in all books all the time for 120 _ students!
    As our HOD is always keen to tell us, she works non-stop. She does however have a lot of time off sick and for various medical appointments. But, as I was keen to tell her, she gets paid twice my salary and she wanted to be HOD. (Ouch! ...I know! But it needed saying.) Last year she marked no books whatsoever - at her own admission.
    I took her last outrageous behaviour to her line manager and I often speak out at meetings; the rest of the staff complain about her non-stop in private, but when I bring thins up in meetings, it all goes quiet and they examine their fingernails.
    Hey ho!

     
  6. headflower

    headflower New commenter

    Hiya,
    Yes, I will bring up the school marking policy at the meeting when we receive our 'feedback.' I'm pretty sure the policy is to mark everything all the time, it's just the scrutiny that she's using that's really over-zealous.
    As for the after-school stuff, please see my earlier reply to another poster. The Yr 10 & 11 stuff is time-tabled on our weekly briefing, the meeting is set in stone and the only optional thing is my club. I also have to fit detentions in somewhere - usually simultaneously with a catch-up session.
    I use my 3 PPM's properly - every minute - no staff-room gossiping for me, I always stay in my lab and work. This week's 3 hours were taken up with: gathering data for reports (due in a week), writing detention letters and the paperwork that goes with them (logging the behaviour), writing out requests for equipment from the lab-technician, printing off and copying resources.
    Thanks again for the advice
     

Share This Page