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Thursday, October 20, 2005 

Day 40: The light at the end of the tunnel...

I have very little interaction with my co-workers. Nature of the job (some would say "nature of the beast!) is such that between running from one class to another, there is little time for chit-chat and socializing with the other teachers.

However, on Thursdays, I teach only 6 out of the 7 periods and my free time is right in the middle of the day - thus giving me a whole period to get ahead (OK, OK, in my case, it's really catching up) on all the correction that needs to be done.

Because let it be known to all those that don't know anything about owning a dog: you feed the dog, it poops and you have to pick it up and dispose of it(the poop, not the dog!).

Well, students generate tests, quizzes, lab reports, exams, and all sort of other things that need to be picked-up by the teacher and corrected. First semester is done on the 31st, and the girls begged for more chances to bring their biology marks up. So, I have them writing 3 quizzes between now and then.

This translates into 306 quizzes to correct, grade and enter into the little computer program that is used to generate their report card. This means A LOT of time spent with the red pen, and at some point, everyone reaches their breaking point where "NO MORE CORRECTION" should be the law, not just something utopic teachers think about when they come up for air.

And so today, I ended up chatting with another teacher, a real teacher, one who has both a teaching degree AND 10 years experience (and an excellent rating on that website where students rate their teachers). I spent close to 40 minutes shooting the breeze (even though we were technically inside the school) and I happened to sigh about the upcoming correction marathon when the following exchange occured:

Her: "Are you telling me that you are going to correct all those quizzes yourself?"

Me: "Are you telling me these tests can be graded WITHOUT my intervention? No wonder they usually hire REAL teachers with degrees to do this... All this time, I've been using a red pen and my brains... It's about time I start using the robots!!! Where do you keep them?"

Her: "It would be INSANE to correct everything yourself. All you need to do is have the students correct them."

Puzzled look on my face...

Then she gently explained that they take someone else's copy, sign their name, and correct using a green pen. The teacher can spotcheck copies randomly (which is not really random since you target the ones most likely to cheat)- since I know who corrected who's test, there can be retribution if it isn't done properly. It takes about 10-15 minutes of your class time, but what a timesaver for me at home afterwards!!!

And so today appeared the light at the end of the tunnel - and to celebrate, I'm about to go enjoy a little Thursday night TV. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

We used to do that a lot when I was at school back in Zimbabwe, especially with science subjects where there a definite right or wrong answer. Exchange books and check each other's work! I used to love it as a student personally. It made me work a lot harder - who wants the entire class know he/she failed dismally in their quiz? Love your stories!

I know at my children's schools, they do that alot...not so much in high school, but definately middle and elementary..my little one (almost 10, I know, not so little) loves doing the correcting..the teacher chooses one child a week, and they all love it...they think its "cool" go figure...It sounds to me like your doing a great job, and of course, I'm no expert...but if you were teaching my kids, I would be proud...and you gotta watch thursday nite tv...its one of the best line ups...lol...have a great weekend...you deserve it...

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  • I'm Lolita
  • From Canada
  • Challenges... don't we all love a good challenge? University, married life, a mortgage, kids, keeping my sanity while we cruise through life at 100 MPH... why not try my hand at teaching for a year. After all, a school year is only 180 days - anyone should be able to survive 180 days, right? Well, I'm about to find out - follow my journey and enjoy my trials and tribulations as I embark in this 180 day rollercoaster ride of teenage hormones and drama, spiked with discipline, homework, exams and surprises I'm sure...
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