Spending lots of time marking is something that can really impact work life balance and causes a lot of stress for teachers. We all know that we have to follow the marking policy that is set out by each individual school however there are a few things that you can do to help ease a bit of the pressure.
1. Talk to your head of department
This one seems really obvious but if you are really struggling to keep up with the marking policy maybe it needs to be edited from a departmental level. Are you the head of department? Could you change it to make it easier for your staff to keep up? A school that I worked at carried out tick marking throughout lessons but only left a comment and an improvement question at the end of each unit of work. You may find that there are a lot of people who are struggling and together you can start to make improvements maybe take some of these other ideas to your discussion.
2. Buy some stamps
We all love to leave nice comments in students books and that is really important but not necessary for every lesson. Some lessons there is nothing wrong with peer assessment and adding a stamp to it. There are loads that you can buy these days and you can have personalised ones too. You can also use stamps to comment on presentation, it can take a really long time to write "use a pencil to draw" in about 20 books. Think about what you write a lot and get some stamps to say it instead.
3. Peer and Self Assessment
Getting students to mark their own work during the lesson or to mark each others not only gives you a bit of your time back as you can just check it has been done correctly but it also means that students get instant feedback. Another nice thing about this is that students can learn how to identify strengths and how to give constructive criticism. If students are marking each others work I like to get them to write their name next to where they have marked so that students who do particularly well can be identified and those that struggled can be given further advice.
4. Print some stickers
I use 3 types of personalised stickers when I am marking books, it does take a little while to create them in the first place however once you have done those you can save them to use again. Two that stay the same every time are the presentation one in the picture above and the second one is a sticker that says WWW and EBI on there along with Target Grade and Current Grade. The final stickers that I use are created for each topic and are either an extension task or a consolidation task to help students make improvements.
5. Mark as you circulate the room
When you are going around the room take a marking pen with you so that you can mark as you go. I used to go around the room checking answers and doing examples on mini whiteboards but then ended up checking the questions again and correcting mistakes when I came to marking books. Now I take a pen round so that I can mark and make corrections as I go which reduces the amount of time it takes to mark later.
What do you do to save time when marking?
I am a Maths teacher working in the UK. My blog started in February 2018 and I am using it to share ideas to help you in the classroom and to improve your work life balance. I also have some free course and resource along with my new tutoring agency.