The Grading Pit (Also Known as My Bad Habit)

I’m a relatively new teacher, which means I’ve been leavening my habits-good and bad-along the way. I’ve found I’m pretty good at some things, and terrible at others. Like grading. I’m terrible at grading things quickly.

I look at my papers, I stare at them, I think about how many there are (for me at least), and then I find something else to do.

I know. I know. It’s pretty bad.

Slowly, over the past three years, I’ve been getting better about being faster with grading papers and passing them back. Plus, this year, I’ve found my secret trick. The end all be all for motivating me to actually grade my assignments. Are you ready for it?

The empty classroom.

That wonderful time when you have no students. I know, I know, everyone has prep periods, but that’s not what I’m talking about. If you’ve been paying attention you’ll know I teach at a small school. But perhaps I should mention how small. My biggest class has ten students, my smallest class has one.

That’s right. One.

Sometimes, on field trip days, game days, and testing days, I have no students. At all. For at least one class. I’m blessed. Now you might be wondering why this is different from any other prep period.


I have a very healthy sense of guilt, and if I’m supposed to have students and don’t I feel like I should be doing something. So I actually do something.

What’s your secret for getting papers graded?


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