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Making time for teachers to plan and reflect

The Science Goddess, a curriculum specialist and former teacher, says teachers who are frustrated by piles of papers to grade need to move away from  “the traditional approach: mark answers incorrect, count up points, calculate a percentage.” But even if they do that, she says, irritation with grading probably won’t go away without rethinking how schools use time:

It’s not that the grading itself is more intensive, it’s the opportunity to reflect on what you see and think about what course corrections need to be made. Classroom work is often based on submitting yourself to the tyranny of the urgent—and the simple truth is that students will be showing up again in the morning and you need to be ready. We tend to frontload our thinking that way, as opposed to increasing our focus for after the lesson.

How can schools be organized to make sure teachers have time to spend looking closely at student work? Interestingly, one of the solutions she proposes is almost exactly what another teacher suggested last week, 4-day weeks for students with the fifth day set aside as a teacher work-day.

About our First Person series:

First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our submission guidelines here.