Sunday, January 15, 2012

All my fault

Eleven years in and you’d figure that I’d have learned by now that leaving things to the last minute is not good for sleep patterns.

I can’t say that I don’t have late nights because I actually don’t usually get to sleep until around 10:30.  Sometimes I go over when I find something interesting for kids; some lesson plan or activity that gets the mind whirling and the blood flowing.  Then you realize it’s late and you are bummed that you have to stop and interrupt the excitement with sleep.  Well, this week did not have one of those nights.  See, I pretty much did nothing in terms of grading during my two and a half weeks off during Winter Break.  Sure, I did the usual planning for the week and bounced around blogs looking for ideas.  But the grading part of my educational duties took a back seat to family, driving, the holidays, basketball, reading, and most importantly, resting.  I did this with full knowledge that grades were due on the Wednesday of my return.  Oops.

I figured that between my prep and my time between the end of school and basketball (3-4:30 pm) that I’d be able to grade essays, grade projects, input scores, and still do everything else that I usually do.  Well, Monday was full of basketball crisis and parents wondering about grades.  After hardly a handful of essays, basketball practice was there and then a glass of wine at home and my bed.  Tuesday involved cramming and cramming and cramming, and it took longer than I thought.  In fact, I came home and immediately started the long process of imputing three classes of exams.  By the time midnight rolled around I was done with the grading but need the wine unwind time.  Bed was around 1:30 and 5 a.m. came really fast.  Short-day Wednesday could have saved my rear end if it wasn’t for the belt that broke during lunch (had to scream home and replace), the faculty meeting during PLC time, or the basketball game.  Grades were due at midnight.  I was actually at a decent clip when the second to last project’s online links decided not to work.  I couldn’t finish the last two sections I wanted to grade!  A furious Facebook post and within ten minutes the new links were in my hand but it was time to head to the gym to watch the freshmen.  I ended up reading the project parts and adding in the grade from my phone during the game and then coached while my JV Boy’s lead us to a victory over Montgomery High School of Santa Rosa.  Hyped up about the game I didn’t calm down and get to bed until 11:30, at which time my cats decided that play time was in effect.  Needless to say I got about 8 hours of total sleep in two nights so this weekend is a godsend.

However the stress could have been alleviated by grading during my break, which is sounding more and more wrong these days.  That’s one of the two things I’m reflecting on with this post.  Yep, I’m getting more and more bitter not about planning and exploring at home, but grading at home is just something that is really grating on me.  The second thing I’m reflecting on is the simple idea of grades, which I’m finding more and more idiotic.  Not the grades themselves, just the folly of actually having to input stuff over and over again only because I need something to justify to parents.  Here’s a tip for all parents out there; I know how well your kid knows the subject and all the quizzes and bullshit are basically there because you really don’t want a true college experience.  Give me five or six assignments in the semester and I’ll know.  Earlier this semester a student was freaking out because a few make-up assignments had not been computed into the grade, which at the time was a B+.  In the conversation it was obvious that the student was gravely concerned about the A so I just stopped the conversation and said, “Jon it is totally clear to me that you know your stuff.  Barring you punching me in the face or falling off the planet, you’re getting the A.”  That put the student at ease even though grades weren’t coming out for over a month.  Surprise, the student got the A.  Know how I knew that? 

Because I know my stuff.     

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