A teachers asks:
“I have too much marking? What can I do about it”
Before I start I would like to take a moment to thank you for all your hard work.
Teachers are the building blocks of our society, without you, we would be nothing. And not just in the literal sense (education = success), what you do is more than a simple equation. Teachers volunteer their time after class and at lunch to help students grasp a topic being discussed in class, participate in enriching conversations, coach teams, run clubs and so much more. Thank you for that.
Although you may feel alone in this struggle, trust me, you are not. Over the past few decades the phrase “work to live” has somehow managed to be turned into “live to work.” Bosses are expecting more and more output with less and less compensation.
Speaking of more and more work, let’s talk about extracurricular activities! I would suggest to take a step back and re-evaluate how much of your time you spend doing these. Maybe there’s a way to reduce the amount of time you spend running clubs and sports teams. There might be a colleague who could take over for an hour or two a week while you spend that time marking. You may decide to step down from an active role in a club that someone else could take over. Or you could lock your classroom door and hide from your students (or colleagues!) every Tuesday at lunch. Remember, being a great teacher doesn’t mean ALWAYS being there, it means being there when it counts. Which means taking care of your own well-being and making sure you’re not over-working yourself!
Another approach to this problem is to come up with creative ways to reduce the amount of work you need to do. Dedicating two class periods for students to proof-read each other’s work can be very helpful. Give them a list of things to look for and make it a requirement to hand in 2 rough drafts alongside the good-copy. This way your students will hopefully catch most of the silly mistakes and you’ll have an easier time reading their work. If you’re writing a test, multiple choice and short answer questions usually take less time to mark. I suggest asking your colleagues if they know of any other tricks.
Lastly, get enough sleep and eat well every day to ensure that you’re always energized and ready to (inevitably) mark. Remove all distractions such as a TV, a cellphone or even a great book while marking. Also, remember that you’re allowed to be comfortable. When I’ve got a long night of homework ahead of me, I grab a soft blanket and make myself some tea. And most importantly, if you have enough time to stress about the amount of work you have to do, you have enough time to start doing that work. Procrastination is poisonous.
Learn to love the things you must do and you’ll find yourself doing a lot more of the things you love.