It’s this time of year again. Teaching is over and done with, let the marking begin. Well, let me tell you something: marking is one of the most debilitating, frustrating and time-consuming task educators do.
Only a few years back I was in the student seat, rushing to meet deadlines, juggling with 4 reports and assignments at a time and frantically preparing revision notes for the exams that would follow right after. I had no idea about the pain of marking my professors were going through. I am now “comfortably” sitting in the marker’s chair and being the anonymous object of student’s fear and muffled hatred. Fancy!
What really happens when your essays or exams end up with the marker is not what you think. Markers read the same thing 50, 70, 100 times. In the end they’re not really sure if they are reading sentences or just seeing words dance around on a page. Then, they become hyper-emotional, shedding a tear of joy when they give an A, wanting to rip apart those who fail, frantically laughing at nothing. And to top it up, they usually are in a rush to mark things as fast as possible (the turn-around time for students to get they grade back seems to be made up of 2/3 of admin).
In the end, tough, this is probably one of the most important tasks you do as an educator. The grades you give reflect the quality of YOUR teaching and you want to do it right. Value the hours of work the students put in, reward the good and give constructive comments.
And you do it, and you put the hours in. In the end, you’re glad to have contributed to improving the student experience, but mainly glad to be done!
More on marking…