The end of the school year is here. With it comes much cleaning and even more rejoicing. Unfortunately, it also brings in a TON of grading! And not just the run of the mill essays or vocabulary assignments I hadn’t gotten around to yet, but the dreaded F word: FINALS!
It is a requirement at my high school that all students take a final or do a final project that is worth 20% of their overall semester grade. As a rule I give my film lit seniors an essay final. My AP juniors and seniors complete a final project which requires them to create something based on one of the books they read for class, write an essay explaining their project and then give a presentation of the project. While I don’t technically have a final “test” to grade, what I end up with is about 100 essays (and 75 projects) to grade.
This is enough to make my stress level rise a few degrees, but what really kicks it into overdrive is that seniors take their finals on Wed and Thurs so that they can finish up a day before everyone else. This in itself is not a huge issue. However, since graduation is on Friday, all teachers with seniors have to have every single thing, including finals, graded before they leave school on Thursday evening. This means that teachers who give their seniors a final on the last block on Thursday have to stay after school and grade them all right then.
The administration’s argument is that they need to immediately know if a student did not pass and will not be able to participate at graduation. However, it’s not just the seniors in danger of failing whose grades must be done, because they also need to calculate final grades for Valedictorian, Salutatorian and Top 10. Since my AP kids usually make up about 90% of the top 10, I have to get those grades done ASAP.
Thankfully this year both of my senior class finals took place on Wednesday, so I got a bit of “extra” time to get all 60 of them graded. Still, that was 60 essays to grade in 48 hours (while still teaching the entire day on Thursday). I was WORN OUT when I left the building.
On the plus side, that meant that I had until Tuesday at 4pm to get grades for my 40 juniors done. So, I could shove everything of theirs that still needed grading off in order to conquer my senior piles.
As usual, I got it all done. And so far I’ve only had one student email me to ask if there was any way I would bump her grade up 2% so she could get straight A’s this grading period (the answer was no).
Now I plan to take a few days off from anything school related before jumping in to doing lesson plans for the College Board’s summer AP institutes.
I truly wish the myth of teachers getting 8-12 weeks off in the summer was real. My guess is I’ll get a week or two of no actual school work. I’m going to guess maybe a day or two where I have no administrators, counselor or student who emails me with something I have to respond to. So far we’ve been on break for one week and I have yet to have one of those days!