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The Spark Creativity Teacher Podcast | ELA

Jan 16, 2024

I recently polled our community on Instagram about the paper pile. Because let's face it, it's a huge part of an English teacher's life. How many papers will you assign? How will you grade them? When will you grade them? These become defining questions. I heard from teachers who have graded papers at an ice cream social, at the bar, at a Superbowl party, in the emergency room, in the delivery room, in a parent's recovery room at the hospital room, at the beach, and more.

I certainly remember the folders of papers always weighing down my bag from my teaching life. And I remember grading past midnight.

I'm sure you can relate to all of this. But more than ever lately, are you asking the same question as me? DOES IT HAVE TO BE THIS WAY?

The teaching profession has suffered through many difficult challenges of late, and the teacher shortage is the newest on a long list. I see many colleagues leaving the classroom or thinking about leaving, and while I know there are many factors, the crush of grading still feels like one of the biggest.

After all, there would be more time to creatively deal with planning, admin tasks, differentiation, parent communication, and everything else if English teachers weren't trying to find four or five hours a week to stare down the paper pile.

So today I want to suggest something, just my two cents. I think it would be better to dramatically change the way you grade to give yourself back time, than to be pushed out of the classroom by your paper pile, or made miserable by it. I think this is a conversation we need to be having honestly with our colleagues, and I hope this podcast might lead you to bring it up with your department if you feel you can. 

Today on the podcast I'm going to share six ideas for taking back some of your grading time, and then in several upcoming episodes I'll be going deeper with some of these strategies.

Go Further: 

Explore alllll the Episodes of The Spark Creativity Teacher Podcast.

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