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Part of a series about my experience of being a workaholic.

I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again. I’m a workaholic. Sometimes I feel like a workaholic because I seem to bring grading with me everywhere. If I’m at a parents’ meeting about some field trip, I probably have a stack of grading with me. If I’m meeting my family for breakfast and know that I might wait a bit, I try to bring quizzes to grade. And I always bring grading to College swim meets [1].

But it’s not just me. I’ve seen colleagues grading at their children’s concerts [2]. I’ve seen colleagues grading during all-campus talks they are attending. I don’t remember a particular circumstance, but I’m pretty sure that some colleagues grade during meetings. I’ve even seen someone grading at College graduation.

Why do we grade in these places and at these times? Because our students deserve grades on their work and preferably prompt grades on their work [3]. Few of us can grade during the workday because the normal workday is filled with classes and paperwork and email meetings and more paperwork and class prep and office hours and more email and writing assignments and even more paperwork and students and colleagues who stop by and have important things to discuss [4,5].

It’s a bit of a strange situation to be in, given that we assign the homework that we have to grade. But I’m pretty sure that all of us find that students do better when they have regular homework and when they have an expectation that the work they turn in will be graded. If I’m not mistaken, one of the many readings we’ve recently been given on evidence-based teaching practices suggests as much [6].

Maybe it’s not that we’re workaholics [7]. Maybe it’s that doing our job right just gives us too much work.

Postscript: I find it sad is that I feel like I spend a lot of time grading and I feel that my students don’t get enough feedback from me.

Postscript: Michelle suggests that in my case, one of the problems is that I have not adjusted what I assign to my class sizes. Presumably, as class sizes grow, my grading will grow unless I assign less. But I don’t think students should have a lesser experience just because they have larger classes.

[1] I never get as much grading done at swim meets as I’d like because I get too caught up in the meet, or the divers start practicing, or someone comes up to chat, or whatever.

[2] Most typically, at the All-City Band concert, where you are often waiting for a lot of other grades to play before you hear your children and you have to get there fairly early.

[3] Cough. Cough. Cough.

[4] and more.

[5] and scholarship, if we can fit it in.

[6] In particular, there’s good evidence that regular low-stakes assessment helps students retain and understand the material better.

[7] Or gradeaholics [8], as the case may be.

[8] Grammarly thinks that should be rageaholics. I’m pretty sure that Grammarly is wrong.

Version 1.0 of 2018-03-03.