06 September 2010

How to Avoid Grading Papers

School's back with a vengeance.  My eleventh graders, you see, will be taking the State of Georgia's writing test--the one they must pass to graduate--at the end of the month (Sept. 29th to be exact), so we begin the school year with intense focus on persuasive writing.  And, as you all know, writing takes practice and more practice and more practice, so I start the year by grading lots of big stacks of essays.  Since the stakes are so high, I know that I have to put everything (time and energy) into grading these essays, too; there's got to be good, thoughtful feedback if I want my students to be able to improve. 

But I didn't really feel like grading essays this weekend.

Initially, I thought that if I just sat down and did them Friday night, then I wouldn't have to worry about them for the rest of the weekend. 

Yeah, right. 

 Instead, I found ways to procrastinate. 

(It's really similar to when I was in college.  Back then, if I had a big paper to write, I'd find all manner of ways to occupy my time--anything, really, would be better than writing the paper.  It was during these times that my sock drawer would call out to me to be reorganized, that I'd decide to write a letter to that long lost friend.  Now I do the same thing, except that now I'm the teacher, and I'm supposed to be better than that.   I'm not.)

Here's what I did to avoid grading essays this weekend:
  • I baked a cream cheese poundcake.
  • I drank way too many glasses of wine.
  • I talked to Matt for hours and hours.
  • I wrote blog posts.
  • I cleaned and reorganized the office (the room that had become a catch-all for garbage during the Lagoon and Deep End makeovers).
  • I scrubbed every little nook and cranny in the bathroom.
  • I arranged flowers.
  • I went to Wiley's BBQ with Matt (and ended up having to share a table with two of the most irritating people on the planet--two irritating people who were on a first or second date--two people who said things like "Let's see if these collards are anything to write home about. . ." and "Sorry doesn't pay the bills."  We probably should have gotten takeout.)
  • I wiped our walls with bleach (and made myself sick with the fumes--super smart).
  • I went to Target (home away from home).
  • I went to Kroger (I hate Kroger, but they have cake flour and Publix doesn't).
  • I labeled and organized the paint that I've used in various rooms around the house. (Seriously.)
  • I took pictures of Mitch.
  • I made spinach dip.
  • I talked on the phone.
  • I looked through cookbooks to do meal planning for the next week or so (more on that later--it's super exciting).
  • I got so hungry after looking through cookbooks that I ate a potato chip sandwich.  Judge away (but try it, too--jalapeno chips on wheat bread = delicious). 
  • I checked Facebook 200 times.
  • I read magazines that have been sitting around for a month. (Why is Garden & Gun so good?)
  • I touched up the paint in the Deep End.
  • I did all of the laundry (and, hell, one day I might even put it away).
  • I went grocery shopping with Matt.
  • I spent time with friends, and my favorite little girls in the world, Iris and Opal. (We made chocolate peanut butter ice cream.)
  • I vacuumed.
  • I dusted.
  • I cleaned all of the fans in the house.
  • I cleaned the globe on the light of our ceiling fan (and, at that point realized that I was running out of things to do.)
  • I even--if you can believe it--got myself interested in Matt's fantasy football draft.  And it was then that I knew that there was nothing else for me to do than grade papers.  So I did them while he did his second draft (no bitterness here).  And then I was proud of myself. 
And I won't have another big stack of essays to grade until. . .oh crap--tomorrow.  Get here, September 29th.

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