March 29, 2011

Grading Avoidance

We start the Research Paper grind tomorrow, when their first assignment comes in.  For one of the examples, I suggested the topic of street art--graffiti gone upscale, which led me to explore lots of different art by Banksy.  It's a nice controversial subject, and one of his renditions is shown above, the gleaner taking a break.

I sat down at the desk today, and except for a short break for lunch and quick errand, I graded.  And graded.  And graded.  Pizza for dinner.  Back to grading.  Finally at 8 p.m. I finished the last paper--a rousing 38%--and said (like the gleaner above), I need a break!  So I stitched on my flower quilt and watched another couple of episodes of Doc Martin (BBC-TV) downstairs with my husband.

Grading Avoidance (GA) is an art, and each of us has to find our own way in this world of teacher-generated procrastination.  Since most of my grading is done at home, my list will have that particular flavor.  Here are some of mine:
Call Judy (friend and teacher colleague)
Call Dave (husband)
Make sure the fridge is working by checking its contents.
Call Mom.
Call Barbara, my daughter.
Tweeze eyebrows.
Get some of the pretzel-type snacks from the back of the cupboard.
Sync the iPhone.
Download an audio book for later.
Facebook to see if anyone commented on my update.
Read the paper standing up at the kitchen counter.
See if Judy sent me any mail.
Answer it.
See if the Slicers have written any comments.
Read them.
Write on their blogs.
Think about what I might write for the next day.
Check to see if mail has come.
Check to see if there are any more comments.
Shuffle the papers.
Update the grades.
Pick out the staple holding the essay together.
Work up the gradesheet for the essay.
Eat a cookie.
Decide what we're having for dinner.
Bring in the trashcans.
Print out the rubric.
Sigh, and realize that it's no good to wait any longer. . .


  1. Oh this made me laugh...especially since I've been up for the last hour (that would be 3:00 a.m.) having come to the conclusion that GA had left me no alternative!

  2. Here, here! I love the list. I have many just like it collecting dust. I make them every weekend. Somehow, I would rather do household chores than correct, file, update notebooks, or write lesson plans. Household chores??? What does it say about those mundane tasks teachers have to do.

  3. You got there in the end! This post is easy to identify with as we are more than capable of rationalizing avoidance. I often say I am in a WAS frame of mind ( Work Avoidance Strategy) While I am reading your post I am thinking about some taxation matters that require my attention, so I can add that to the list. The humour and the honesty shine through. Watching Doc Martin is a common WAS in our house too!

  4. You missed one: go to the movies! I don't miss this part of teaching,

  5. I have been avoiding writing up teacher evaluations. It is amazing how many distractions I can find when I have a big task like that in front of me.

  6. Sounds like you have this down! Great list!

  7. I would have to say that facebook and twitter are a great GA form for me!!

  8. I love that Banksy painting! I haven't seen that one. I think it should be hanging on my study wall. Maybe I can avoid grading by searching the internet to see if any prints are available...

  9. Oh, you are good! I won't even start! I'm like you, I think of everything in the book to do just so I don't have to, but I usual decide that if I would have just started the papers, it isn't as bad as I thought it was going to be! Well, most times! Happy avoiding! Happy slicing! :)

  10. There is the list, & then there's more of the list. Ha, what funny things we do to avoid things. I'm loving reading & commenting on the slices, which helps me to avoid cleaning, dusting, planning for the return to work after break, etc. Facebook is helpful too. But my favorite of yours is making sure the refrigerator is working by checking the contents. Fun to read your list more than once!

  11. Yes, the life of a teacher! I think it has ruined me for life. Now that I'm retired, I work the same way with paying the bills, cleaning the house, doing the dishes, and I find myself running in my mouse maze like I did at school. We have such scatteed lives at school and at home. If anyone would video us, they might thing were a little loony which comes with the teacher territory of survival. One pointer, I usually would plan to grade 5 papers at one sitting. I felt I was getting ahead if I did one more than I should. Before you know it, you have one class finished. This doesn't say you can't get up and check the frig one more time or get a cup of tea before the next 5!!!

  12. Oh...the avoidance list....something I am truly good at! :) Yours is inspired.
    Only now I feel as if I should at least go walk past the bulging bag I lugged home today. Maybe it's somehow taken care of itself.

  13. Oraganizing drawers and closets suddenly becomes VERY important for me when it is time to grade things. :)

  14. organizing...see, I can spell it!

  15. My favorite lines:
    Make sure the fridge is working by checking its contents.
    Tweeze eyebrows.
    Eat a cookie.

    You had me chuckling, but I wasn't sure if I was chuckling at your post or at myself because I guiltily found myself in those lines.

    I am a deadline girl if there ever was one! Good to see I am not alone.

    -Christy (now you know my first name- funny I never realized it wasn't posted somewhere)

  16. I've added writing my grandmother-in-law (now that she's in a nursing home) to my list of GAs. And I am reading your blog right now as a GA.

    Yes, we are masters. And then we fuss at our students! (Because, after all, we did get it done. They often do not.)