On Marking and the Happy Dance

Some day I actually will dance the Happy Dance of Joy in the hallway, but that will probably be my last day at the school where I work and will probably involve lots of references to Johnny Paycheck, (although, technically, given my work situation, most of that will have happened before with some of it to come after).

(Note: the Happy Dance of Joy looks a lot like a fast version of what these ladies are doing.)

Today we gave back junior high school exams and that means I won’t have to see my worst class until September when autumn starts. Adding insult to insult, my last class today was my worst class which meant I had to hang around until the afternoon to deal with them.

Fortunately, someone had threatened them in exactly the right way and they were surprisingly calm even though there wasn’t much for them to do. Although I was glad to be done with them, I wasn’t in the mood to dance. (Note: I am almost never in the mood to dance even when alcohol is involved.)

Passbacks involve getting the students sat down; writing some scores on the board; handing out answer sheets; handing out exams; correcting any mistakes; and handing out the speech contest print.

Today, for the first time in a while, I had a number of students bring up tests with marking and math mistakes. (Long story involving Japanese instructions and changed minds and bad powers of observation.) I corrected a few mistakes which led to a rush of people trying to lobby that something was a mistake. Complicating the issue is that this test is the only test where I actually mark the long writing. In the future I will just read it and give points. Today, though, I try to show how I mark by, well, actually marking.

This leads to students counting my marks and trying to match them to their scores whilst I try to explain that’s not how it works. A perfect long writing that’s off-topic gets almost no points. A long writing that’s long on coherence and mistakes will get a high score.

Once that was over I felt like doing the happy dance. However, if that’s going to happen it will happen at the end of the year when I never have to see the bad class again.

I probably still won’t dance because I’ll probably end up with some of the same students next year.

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