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Assignments, and the Inevitability of a Late Grade

On multiple occasions, you stayed up late into the wee hours of the morning cramming for that important test, or scoured multiple sources on the internet in order to put together a decent essay in the class that you really need an “A”  in. You spent hours redoing your project, just to make sure it was up to the teacher’s standards before you turned it in. One week eventually goes by, maybe even two, and you begin to become antsy, asking your peers if their assignment has or has not been graded yet. You begin to wonder if maybe you did something wrong; maybe you didn’t start studying soon enough, or you forgot to explain a part of your thesis in the essay. Eventually this short term worry turns into fear, and then into the emotion we have most likely all experienced: Anger.

Let’s be honest, if the teacher says that an assignment will be graded in one week, we expect that promise to be held, and in some scenarios it is, but sometimes it is frustratingly not. The second that timeline turns into a week and one day and the grade is not in, we begin to become angry, wondering, “why is this grade not in, did they even start grading?” Of course it’s infuriating when this happens, since you practically put your blood, sweat, and tears, into the assignment, and it wasn’t even graded in the timeline you were promised!

But let’s not forget the other side of the story: While we complain about the amount of homework we have, teachers have just as much, if not more. They have lesson plans, meetings, test creations, and, of course, grading. One teacher in the Bedford School District reports having to spend up to 90 minutes a night just on grading. Once you add the amount of time it takes to plan tests and lessons, teachers are looking at approximately two hours of work every night at the minimum.

Grading is a lengthy process that nobody enjoys, but that then raises the question: Why do teachers give us so many projects and tests? Well, the answer is they are required to, and they need to test our knowledge, because what’s the point of teaching if no one understands what is being taught? Many people, including myself, have also wondered why grading takes so long if you are just grading the same thing over and over again. It may be monotonous, but what element makes it hard? According to a science teacher at Bedford it is the “open ended and inquiry nature” of the questions that makes grading so time consuming. These types of assignments are usually labs in which students collect their own data, which requires the teacher to review each individual calculation.

Most of the teachers I talked to at the high school found grading incredibly time consuming, but some struggled to even have time to grade, especially when they have family: One teacher reports “when I had kids it was hard to grade and find the time.” Teachers want to be a part of their children’s lives, but how exactly can they find the balance between life and work if their work seems to always take over part of their life?

I’m not going to lie, not having an assignment graded quickly is definitely an experience no one enjoys, but we need to take into consideration the other responsibilities teachers have on top of grading; to rephrase, they have lesson planning, meetings, test creations, and most importantly, a life and family who they cannot and should not ignore. Though at times it may not seem like it, teachers put in hours of their time to grade student’s work, skipping out on events and staying up incredibly late, just to get our work graded, and further our academic ambitions. And what do we do in return? We complain that our assignments are not graded a few days after turning them in.

So, next time you’re about to complain about that essay you put hours into, or the lab that you triple checked, remember that teachers are putting the same, if not more effort into getting those assignments back to everyone, finding the time in their hectic schedule.


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