Teachers expand on outside-of-school duties

A student’s test is completed in a 55-minute class period. Yet, at the end of the day, a teacher’s work is far from finished.

A teacher’s work is just beginning because for every test a student takes, a teacher has to evaluate upwards of 120 tests.

On this topic, social studies teacher Brooks Hazen explains that extra time spent grading is an innate part of being a teacher.

“Putting in extra hours grading is what we do. It is what we signed up for. I think [that] for the most part, I get things back in an acceptable amount of time. With coaching [tennis] after school, I have had to dedicate at least one weekend to grading because during the weekdays I am busy coaching after school,” Hazen said.

Hazen additionally said that skipping one weekend puts him weeks behind in his grading.

“If I happen to go away or do something on one weekend, it puts me so far behind. So that is a little stressful but at the same time it just comes with the territory. The last thing I want is to have less time with the kids just to give us time to grade,” Hazen said.

Pre-AP and AP chemistry teacher Angela Reed, who said the average amount of students a teacher has in a day is 120, reveals her secret to getting through the daunting grading process.

“My son is in school and we do homework together. We both sit down at the dining room table and I grade while he does his homework. He always finishes way before I do and so then after he goes to bed I usually put on some music and I just crank it out. It is not uncommon for me to grade until 11 p.m. or midnight,” Reed said.

Hazen likewise expresses his opinion on the times throughout the year that require the most time spent grading.

“I think [that] at semester’s end there is a little more pressure because there is a deadline for our grades. We try to put things off to the end of semester so the kids do not think the class is over a week before the semester is done. But then that puts the strain and stress on the teachers to all of a sudden have all the finals graded by Wednesday,” Hazen said.

While semester’s end places pressure on teachers, Hazen claims that the end of the year is the hardest.

“I think June is the hardest because at semester at least we have four days to get our grades in. At the end of the year we have that [one] day. Grades have to be done on that day. If you plan a test a couple of days before the end of the school year you have to be done. So the added stress and time is there,” Hazen said.

Spanish teacher Michelle Heeb also shares her opinion on the impression that teachers are not paid for the extra time spent on grading assignments.

“Technically you can say that we are paid for [the extra hours]. There is this thing called Time Responsibility and Incentive or TRI money, which does not begin to cover it,” Heeb said. “But, generally speaking, you do not go into this profession thinking that you are not going to spend extra time [grading]. You go into it with that idea. The perception of [having] Saturdays, Sundays, June, July and August off and you never have to work and is not real.”

Reed additionally explains that to her, teaching is not about the paycheck but the love of her subject.

“I love teaching and I do not do it for the money. I do it for kids; I do it for my subject. If anyone knows a teacher, they know they put in countless hours of unpaid time,” Reed said.

While students wait for their grades to be updated, Hazen urges them to be patient and understand that teachers are doing their best to evaluate assignments in a timely matter.

“I just wish the appreciation was there. There are some teachers out there that really do a good job at evaluating things and I just wish kids and parents appreciated it. Because our planning period a day does not truly give us time to do it, so just understand that grading is done somewhere else too,” Hazen said.