Sunday, March 5, 2017


The papers sit in a messy stack on my computer desktop.

5 more Close Reading Planners. 15 more article reactions. Almost 30 System Functional Linguistic planners. Artifacts from the "Literacy for English Language Learners" class I finished teaching on Thursday night.

The class, along with 7 others, are required for teachers new to my district. It's a great class. I love teaching it. And as an oldie moldie, who is not THAT far from retirement, I love leaving my mark on all of these new baby teachers.

I don't so much love grading papers. It takes forever. Especially when the class has 31 students. Which this one did.

The problem for me is that I spend way too much time on each paper. For me, it's not about attaching a grade. It's not about filling out the numbers on a rubric, although I do use one. I could care less about the numbers or letter grades. Instead, for me, it's about the conversations.

I love engaging in conversations around people's work. I try really hard to give my students positive feedback about the things they did well. And then to push them to question themselves, and to engage in new thinking. I usually try to provide a link to one or two resources-- websites or books or articles that I think they might enjoy. It takes me a long time to respond like that.

I got up super early this morning to read papers. I read for four hours, then went to Colorado Springs to see my mom. I only got through 15 articles reactions. The Close Reading Planners take longer, usually 45 minutes to an hour each. The SFL planners are half an hour minimum.

And all of them have to be done by Thursday.

This isn't part of my regular job. This is an extra job that I started when my sons were in college.  And just haven't quit. I still have to do work for my regular job too.

I actually should be doing that right now instead of slicing.

I'm thinking I have some late nights and early mornings ahead this week.

Because responding to people takes way longer than grading.


Unknown said...

I would imagine your students greatly appreciate your thoughts! I used to hate getting back papers I had worked so hard on with nothing but a letter at the top. I always wondered anyone even read it!

Julie Johnson said...

You're right. Responding takes way longer than grading, but it's so much more important. I'm sure your students are appreciative of the feedback you give them. Good luck this week!

Michelle said...

Carol, you are so dedicated! I know those new teachers appreciate your time, energy, and commitment to providing them the feedback they truly deserve to be reflective and grow!!! I know it's a lot right now, so I'm even more impressed that you sliced (but that could have been some procrastination, I'm guessing). :) Hang in there and do the best you can!!

Diane Anderson said...

Hope those students know how blessed they are! It's exactly what we need to learn and grow.

Linda B said...

Oh Carol, the grading and responding with something they will learn from is so important. What a good teacher you are. I do remember those stacks of papers, and you probably have more complex papers than I did. Good for you for carrying that extra load.

elsie said...

Your students will appreciate the feedback more than just a grade. You are like the Energizer Bunny, you keep on going and going. I am in awe!

Cathy said...

How kind of you to take the time to thoughtfully respond to all of the writing. I'm sure the feedback will be appreciated.

Oh another note, I had to laugh at "oldie moldie."