Sunday, November 22, 2009

What happens when I grade papers

Grading tests is boring no matter how well students may have performed. But when they perform poorly, life can be as depressing as a football fan suggesting to convert Kenan Stadium into a water park.

Do not think I wallow in these red marks without reason. I try to surround myself with happy things while I grade. I am about to start now, and here are the positive interventions I already implemented for myself: Pandora bluegrass station entitled "Dueling Banjos," two hot dogs with mustard and sweet relish, the anticipation of reading another chapter of Dean Smith's book when I finish, and the sweet memory of a Carolina football victory that puts us in position to have the best regular season record since my arrival in 2003.

Here we go. The time is 4:30 p.m.

4:35 p.m.: Already this sucks. I am grading makeups, which are difficult to grade because I lose the solution key by the time my kids finish them. My best strategy is to group by test and grade the best student's test first. This test will almost serve as a key for the rest. The inherent inexactitude of this makes my blood boil. I have not graded a single paper yet. I feel like I need to change the Pandora station to reduce the panic settling between my ears. Cue Rage Against The Machine.

5:06 p.m.: I finished my first set of tests. Some of the tests were blank. Those are the easy ones. My days-old stubble is breaking my concentration. I might need to take a shower to give myself a shave and a break. The break needs to be an incentive to work, so I will shower after I work a bit more.

5:43 p.m.: I am feeling bad about life because one of my students wrote correct answers to the practice version of the test on the real version of the test. I am not sure how to tell this to his parents.

9 p.m.: I quit a long time ago and watched The Godfather.

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