Alright, teacher bestie, let’s dive into a topic that many of us were never taught in college how to manage – the daunting task of how to keep up with grading. If you’ve ever found yourself drowning in piles of ungraded papers, facing the dread of late-night grading sessions before report cards, you’re not alone.
I’ve been there, and today, I’m not just going to share my journey but also the secret strategies that turned my nightmare into a breeze. Stick with me through this post, and by the end, you’ll have a toolkit of techniques to stay ahead of the grading game, even before report cards are due. Plus, there’s a game-changing bonus tip waiting for you at the end!
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The Grading Struggle Is Real
Can I share a secret with you? I used to be TERRIBLE at grading. My first year as a kindergarten teacher was a chaotic blend of students putting papers in their mailboxes, a hurried star stamp, and a principal’s inquiry about the growing pile of ungraded work. The problem wasn’t just the messy approach; it was trying to grade everything without a clear plan.
It got so bad that my late-night grading sessions became the norm, especially right before report cards were due. Today, I’m excited to unveil the three transformative strategies (and a crucial bonus tip) that changed the game for me.
1. Decide What You’re Going to Grade Ahead of Time
One of the monumental mistakes I made early on was attempting to grade everything. It’s a surefire way to fall behind and feel overwhelmed. The first strategy involves a shift in mindset – decide what you’re going to grade ahead of time. Check-in with your district or school for specific requirements and collaborate with your team lead.
Then, determine the number of assignments you’ll grade each week. I’ll share my personal approach, including a point system for participation, and offer insights into how your fellow teachers might structure their grading routines.
2. Don’t Use Mailboxes or Turn in Boxes!
Here’s a revelation: mailboxes and turn-in baskets are not your grading allies. They lead to crumpled papers, endless piles, and a chaotic grading process. In this section, I’ll introduce you to a filing system that became my grading sidekick – filing away by name in a milk crate.
Learn how this method not only saved me time but also made grading assessments and participation work a seamless process. Discover why it’s not just about grading but also about creating a system that organizes your materials efficiently.
3. Send Work Home Weekly
No more letting work pile up until the end of the quarter. In this strategy, I’ll guide you on choosing a designated day to send work home. For me, it was Fridays, ensuring students and their families got a weekly snapshot of what was happening in the classroom.
Sending work home weekly not only keeps families in the loop but also holds students accountable. I’ll share how this approach keeps you on track with your grading and fosters a sense of transparency with parents.
4. Pick a Day and Time (Bonus Tip)
Now, here’s the bonus tip, the secret sauce to keeping up with grading – pick a grading day. I’ll take you through my personal strategy of dedicating Thursdays to grading everything from participation to assessments. Discover how having a specific day devoted to grading not only keeps you on track but also holds you accountable to send work home the next day.
I’ll challenge you to ask yourself, what day of the week can you designate as your grading day? Feel free to share in the comments or DM me – accountability can be a powerful motivator.
Congratulations! You’ve just explored the secrets to keeping up with grading before report cards are due. But, hey, if you’re hungry for more time-saving strategies and want to dive deeper into mastering the art of teaching, check out the Ultimate New Teacher Guide.
And guess what? You’re not alone in this journey. Consider joining us in The Present Teacher Circle – a community where teachers collaborate to master time-saving systems together.
As always remember: