steve-marking

I love teaching. There is absolutely nothing in the world I would rather do. I love to learn and dig up new and interesting facts I can use to enrich my lessons. I love to learn new technologies and incorporate them into my lessons. I love the interchange of ideas among my colleagues from different disciplines. I love the interaction with the kids I teach and joy I get from seeing them grasp new concepts that will help them in their futures. I even love the rhythm of my job, the pressure of exams, the pleasure of the holidays. I love everything about my job. Except the marking.

I hate marking. It is boring and repetitive. I find it really hard to keep my mind on task, and I need the constant stimulus of caffeine and music to keep my mind awake. I think, “I have already taught this concept a dozen times, and they still don’t get it.” I think of all the other things I would rather be doing. I think of all the jobs that don’t require marking, or wasting entire weekends on essentially unpaid labour. There isn’t a single thing about marking that I like. Except that it is an essential part of teaching (see paragraph one).

What really galls, however, is the inequality between my marking load, and that of other disciplines. I was chatting to a business teacher who showed me a test generating program for business. He clicks a few categories – chapters and concepts covered, number of questions desired – and hits a button. The multiple choice test instantly appears on his screen. He hits print, and his test is written. He will photocopy it and give it to his students along with a form that the students use to select their choice of answer. He will turn in those forms to an exam office that will scan the form and give him a print out of student marks. His time on task? About two minutes.

I on the other hand will take two hours to write a test that is tailored to what I taught in English, and then spend about twenty to thirty hours marking it. (Oh, did I mention that he gets a four thousand dollar bonus for teaching an “essential” subject?) However, I still love teaching. I just hate marking. In fact I am writing this post just to avoid getting back to it. Guess my time is up.

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