Sunday, 18 January 2015

Marking the mocks

The entire weekend has been devoted to marking mock exam papers for my teaching groups. I have two weekends (plus evenings of the coming week) to get through this pile... and I allocate myself targets and try to exceed them slightly. This weekend I have marked pretty much non-stop. My target was to halve the load, so I am pleased to have whittled away at an extra ten. The slight drawback is that marking so intensively makes me feel sick. I mean this literally. I actually start to feel nauseous and can reach a point where I just have to stop and go and lie down.  Marking can be a soul destroying task. Of course there are those which are cogent, perceptive and well structured, they don't quite compensate though for the ones that make me  tear out my hair over the quality of thought and expression and wonder if I should just throw in the towel. It is also just horrible to lose the entire weekend to marking the stuff. The only down time I had was a visit to the gym yesterday evening and a walk around the park in the snow, featured below, this morning.

The snow transformed everything today. It was so cold and crisp and beautiful in the sunlight and I took some bread and fed the ducks, and also the gulls who were so hungry that they dive bombed into the water for bread and  sometimes caught the falling pieces mid air, thus depriving the ducks whose quacking seemed to my imagination to take on an increasingly indignant tone with every piece of bread which was intercepted in this way. It is sad to say that this was the highlight of my weekend.

If I can do just a few scripts every evening this week, next weekend might just be bearable.


  1. Wow, apart from your two beautiful pictures it sounds horrendous.I'm so glad I never had the brains to be a teacher.

  2. Yes, I don’t think happy little students know about what goes on behind the scenes. I spent three weeks marking finals papers for undergrad modules a few years ago and wondered if life could become any duller! Thankfully the odd inspirational exam script would punctuate the plethora of the benign and mediocre. There would also be the odd dud that you wondered why they’d wasted three years of their life, £27,000 and had obviously never picked up a book or attended a lecture for their entire time at the university.
    I’ve had a similar miserable weekend, this weekend. The thesis HAS to go in on Monday and so I’ve been up at 6am Sat & Sun beavering away editing and honing... It’ll be weird NOT having to do it from Monday. I liken doing a PhD to being a Catholic, you get the constant feeling of guilt (when you’re not working on your thesis) but not the religion!
    As I write it’s still dark, but I can tell there’s been a hard frost – and I do get to see trees from where I am sitting at my desk... The copse that surrounds YWAM’s training college dominates my horizon. Thankfully the inhabitants of YWAM aren’t discernible – although you can tell them when they are out and about in the town – they talk a good 20 decibels louder than the natives... you know what they say about empty vessels!
    Onwards I go... Hope you had a more relaxing weekend, this weekend?

  3. I am sure I work a lot harder than the vast majority of my students... (bitterly:) ) I marked every night this week and yesterday and now I am sorted with the mocks - but have foolishly promised my students to "take a look at" their coursework-in-progress this weekend. This will probably take most of this afternoon.

    Good luck with the thesis!