This Will Surprise You

How long does it take to grade a paper? If the paper is fairly short, say 2 pages, it will probably take about 5 minutes to read the paper and offer feedback. If the paper is well-written, it could take slightly less than 5 minutes, but if it is poorly written, it could take a great deal longer than 5 minutes.

My son’s high school English teacher has 175 students, a fairly normal load these days (6 classes with about 30 students in a class). When she needs to grade papers, it is going to take a long time. 175 papers x 5 min = 875 grading min or more than 14 hours of grading. And, to be honest, 14 hours is assuming a batch of short, well-written papers. Poorly written papers can take a long time to grade. If each paper takes 10 minutes, she’s up to 28 hours of grading. But she is in the classroom all day, so when can she grade these papers? 28 hours is a lot of evenings and weekends. For one short paper. High school English classes require a lot more than one paper.

I’ve heard people blame high school teachers for not giving enough feedback, not returning papers, not assigning enough work, not doing a good job, etc. The truth is, we are asking a lot of teachers, and nobody realizes how much we are asking. Some people think teachers work the same hours that students go to school, with summers off. The truth is, they work long hours. Teachers get summers off, but many teachers spend some of the summer preparing for the next school year—lesson planning, reading books, going to conferences, etc. And, yes, after a long, stressful school year, teachers should have some time off to have the energy for the next school year. Unfortunately, many teachers take on summer jobs to make ends meet.

Teachers in the US aren’t paid what lawyers and stockbrokers and CEOs are paid, though their hours are just as long, their jobs more difficult, and the importance of their work crucial to the success of our country.

So, the next time you see a school teacher, tell them how much you appreciate what they do.

Thank you teachers of America!!