Sunday, February 6, 2011

Eating an Elephant


I could make a list a mile long of the reasons why I love teaching. Sometime I might just do that.

But today, I want to talk about the biggest catch to the job that I love and adore. It is the bane of my existence. The robber of all my free time. The reason for my quickly failing eyesight.


Grading papers.

Seriously, grading is a real drag. You might think that grading sounds like a cinch. How many papers can I possibly have to grade anyway, right?? Well, let me give you a quick little math lesson before I get to the point of this entry.

I teach 5 subjects each and every day (math, reading, writing, social studies, and science. Also spelling, but for my purpose today we'll leave that out). So 5 subjects times 26 kids. That pans out to a nice little 130. I am required to enter into the grade book at least 9 grades per subject each quarter.

So that's 1,170 papers, four times a year.

At the bare minimum, we're talking 4,680 papers per school year. I've always been an overachiever so of course I grade LOTS more than that.

Today when I sat down with a toppling tower of manilla folders full of papers to grade, I felt completely overwhelmed. But suddenly I remembered some immortal words of wisdom from a very wise woman: my mom.

Whenever I started to freak out over a project, a paper, or the thought of cleaning my room, she'd simply ask me, "Honey, how do you eat an elephant?"

The answer?

"One bite at a time."

So this afternoon I decided to take my Leaning-Tower-of-Pisa papers out to my screened-in porch. I sat on my porch swing, turned on some chill music, and started grading away. One bite at a time.

Now I know:
Eating an elephant one bite at a time is much nicer on a screened-in porch.

1 comment:

  1. I still remember YOU giving ME this advice...and I still live by it, too! :)