I assign one major project, paper, or speech per month per class, and I’m often asked how I keep up with the grading load. While there are many ways to keep up with the paper load, I tend to rely most on allowing students to choose their due dates.
I print out a sheet with due dates spread throughout the month and draw names from a hat to determine who gets to choose their due dates first. Within five minutes everyone has chosen a due date, and I have a schedule for keeping track of student work without being overloaded.
However, this system requires discipline.
I am often praised for my organization and diligence, but my real secret is portioning out my workload. Since the students choose their own due dates, I only have to assess 4-5 papers, projects or speeches per day.
Why would I assign everyone the same due date when I can’t score 30 papers in a day (or 60 or 90 if multiple classes have the same due date)? I can’t. The papers sit there, I feel stressed with an overflowing in-box, and the kids wait for feedback for days on end.
Instead, I score 4-5 major items per day, provide immediate feedback, and don’t feel the same level of stress i once did. Plus, the students like choosing their due dates because they can look at their schedules and determine how their activities, sports, and other classes impact their workloads as well.
I feel like this system allows me to feel less stress and students to feel empowered to determine in making their deadlines. For me this works. But, it does require consistent discipline and a steady workload each day.
Does anyone do anything similar?