So, I just started this new job two weeks ago. It's a doozy, teaching at an alternative high school where the majority of the student body don't work well in a traditional school setting. I'm finding myself teaching students that would normally be kicked out of my classroom, and having to manage their behavior and their abilities in a more flexible manner. Every day I walk the fine line of balance, trying to help motivate students and work with them where they are, while still trying to maintain (or establish) a respectful working environment in the classroom. It is trying. I come home mentally and emotionally exhausted every day. For the past two weeks I've focused on building relationships with my students, learning the ropes of what I do through trial and error (no training here!), and documenting, documenting, documenting! Because of the nature of the work that we do, everything needs to be documented for communication purposes, legal purposes, and in case we get audited in regards to our funding. It is crazy.
Needless to say, I have not done a whole lot of marking since my contract began two Tuesdays ago. I teach the self-paced math class. Normally math is not that bad for marking - students check their answers for homework assignments, I mark those for completion, as well as quizzes and tests. But the way the class is currently set up (and because I'm coming in partway through the school year, I'm keeping it as it is, at least for now), workbooks have been photocopied for students, and when a student has completed a package they hand it in and I am the one to check all of the work. Considering I have 5 different courses running, and students working within the same course are at different places, my marking load is very broad. Anyone who is a teacher knows that this is a huge time suck. For those of you who have never marked anything, I'll give you this one key point: it is far more efficient to mark 50 papers of the same assignment by marking page 1 all at once, and then page 2, etc, than it is to mark separate assignments in their entirety. As the marker, you start to form what is an acceptable answer, what you will give part marks for, and you're able to mark with consistency and be very quick. I look at my pile of marking and all I can think is, this is going to take me two whole days :P And, by a whole day I mean 8 hours of uninterrupted marking.
So, on Friday afternoon I got all my marking piled into one container. I placed on top my special colourful marking pens (hey, you got to make it enjoyable somehow) and my marking guide binders. Then I got my things together and left with only my lunch kit. The realization that I left behind my marking didn't hit me until 930pm that night, and I don't have after hours access to the school yet. Can we say Freudian slip?
Oh, and I left my knitting at my parents this afternoon. I think this evening I'll bake some muffins and cast on a new project. Goodness knows once tomorrow comes I'll be using any spare time to chip away at that marking!