I ran across this chart and it caught my eye like a cute pair of shoes, probably because I am a Composition instructor and the “shoe fits.” A teacher with 30 students who averages 15 minutes per essay on grading and feedback will spend 7 1/2 hours of grading to complete grading. A teacher with 60 students (I taught 3 sections of Composition during Fall 2021) will spend 20 hours to grade a single essay assignment. A composition class will usually consist of 4-6 major essay assignments during a semester. For six essay assignments, that adds up to 120 hours outside of the classroom just to grade the major assignments.
That means an additional 6 weeks of work is added to my 13-week semester. I am under contract for half-time work as a professor.
As a Composition teacher, I grade a full set of in-class and/or homework assignments almost every class day. I read every poem, lyric essay, and journal entry that is shared with me by my students and I work hard to comment personally on their writing so that they know their work has been read by someone who cares.
It is impossible to teach the art of writing by designing easy-to-grade True-False tests that can be automatically graded online. It is impossible to assign the same writing prompts or teach from the same textbook year after year. All grading takes place outside the classroom.
Just putting this out there. #spinningmyrealife
What do hardworking teachers trying to keep our heads above water during a pandemic need? Not more to do. Do not tell this writing teacher that I also must save their souls, act as a social worker, submit ALL of my plans before class even starts, or teach while being taped by a surveillance video.
Don’t tell me my exhaustion is really a lack of conviction or self-esteem. As someone late to the party (I have only been teaching for 8 years and I’m 59), I am amazed at the expectations placed on the shoulders of teachers who are barely making ends meet with fast-food level wages. I honestly do not know how writing teachers last for 30 years (teachers giving the online True-False tests, okay maybe…)
I won’t be teaching for much longer. It’s time for me to pursue other adventures and to, well, sleep in on Saturday mornings once in awhile instead of reading essays. But I won’t ever retire from advocating for and expressing deep appreciation for teachers at all levels of our educational system. Teachers deserve our best as parents, community members, administrators, politicians; teachers do not deserve our constant higher and higher expectations for what stands for their best.