How often have you been crouched over another seemingly endless pile of marking thinking, “Why am I doing this? Is there any point to this madness?”
Marking can be a time consuming task but it is a necessary one.
You can be endlessly enthusiastic, have great subject knowledge, manage behaviour wonderfully and teach fascinating lessons – BUT if you don’t mark the students’ books, how do you know if they are understanding and progressing? Marking and feedback are essential for pupil progress.
There can be a substantial difference in the amount or marking for different subjects. Broadly speaking the more you have to write in the subject, the longer it takes to read and mark! That said, no matter what subject you are teaching you have a responsibility to mark and give regular feedback.
Not marking work regularly sends all manner of negative messages to a student. What is the point of students doing the work if no one reads it? They will start to see their effort as pointless, their work as having no value to you - so why bother ? Where work is not properly marked or, worse still not marked at all, a negative message gets through and students soon stop trying, stop caring, stop working. Pages get left blank, presentation goes awry and discipline suffers.
However students are sure to gain from the process when work is marked regularly with professionalism and clear feedback.
So we have to mark
But how can you significantly reduce the time spent on this task without compromising on the quality?
Marking saps a huge amount of time and energy that could be spent planning lessons that genuinely challenge and develop students' learning.
Burning the midnight oil to mark every piece of work, from every lesson, for every students - to within an inch of its’ life will result in your almost killing yourself in the process!
“You have written more than me, Miss."
There is a place for in-depth, all inclusive marking perhaps a few times a term. However, most of the time you can use focused marking which is easier for the students to digest. Find a key focus, something that will really make the difference and move them on and focus on that.
Sometimes the process feels depersonalized because it happens away from the classroom, making it difficult to maintain meaningful dialogue with students.
Marking too regularly can create a culture of dependency, denying students the opportunity to develop important self-regulation strategies such as editing and proofreading, not to mention burning you out as a teacher.