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Gone Marking

A perfect storm of marking: my senior IB English students wrote a practice exam paper, and my junior IB English students wrote a commentary on something they are reading. The Theory of Knowledge students submitted paragraphs on historiography. I am marking ToK papers for the I. B. Organization. In spite of good will and a butt of iron tempered by twenty-five years’ sitting at the desk after class, I was behind. I thought of the sign the father of a boyhood friend of mine had on the desk in his study: “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.”

Time for triage, since I will be working, as Barzun says, like a dog, but with triage; otherwise, I will sink without a trace. The seniors need affirmation and general words of encouragement, which are easier to write quickly than are proofreading and detailed comments, which the juniors need. The ToK classes revisited the material discussed in the paragraphs. Clearly the juniors “win” the attention of my red pen.

All this happens when I am not in the classroom teaching my students, but something has happened in my conditions of work to make it easier to manage than it was during my first or second year of teaching. I mean more than just experience. At my current school I have about half the classroom contact hours I had at that first school, and 55% as many students.

Even so, I am not done. Enjoy your week. Next week, I will enjoy mine.

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