How to relieve the stress of marking scripts

06 November 2020

It’s that time of the year again. Exam time! And that means loads and loads of scripts that have to be marked.

Ugh! A collective sigh of exasperation echoes around this time of the year wherever piles of scripts await educators.

Here are 8 tips to relieve the stress of marking all those scripts:

TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE

Find the right time that works for you.

If you are an early riser who believes “If you snooze, you lose” set your alarm clock and start before/at dawn. If you like to burn the midnight oil, work till as late as it suits you.

Inevitably you will have to do some marking during different times of the day as well in order to keep up with your workload.


POSITION, POSITION, POSITION

Position does not only apply to where a property is situated…

Find a spot where you will be comfortable whilst marking. It does not have to be at a desk; a comfy couch or a sunny corner on your stoep could work just as well.

Change position when the tedium of the marking gets to you.


GET IN THE MOOD

Add some fun to the marking process by treating yourself. Get a cup of coffee or hot chocolate, a glass of fresh juice or a cup of tea ready before you sit down to tackle the first script of your marking session. Dunk a rusk or have a sandwich/sweet treat lined up to break the monotony of marking.

Don’t have more than one manageable bundle of scripts (e.g. the scripts of one class that you teach) in front of you. This will lead to a more positive and focussed mind set.


CHOOSE YOUR STYLE

Choose what works best for you: to mark bit by bit i.e. one major question or section at a time and working your way through all the scripts in this manner, or to apply the ‘bigger is better’ principle i.e. to mark each question paper from start to finish before moving on to the next paper.


TAKE A BREAK

Take regular breaks provided they are not too long. Do something that takes your mind away from the marking. Go for a brisk walk, stroke the cat, phone a friend.


STICK TO TICKS

Long-winded commentary, no matter how well-intended, does not serve enough of a purpose when marking end-of-year scripts.

Focus on the job in hand and speed up your marking without losing out on efficiency.


CHECK YOURSELF

Every now and then check that you are still marking each script with the attention it deserves. It is easy to fall into a pattern of giving marks in the same range as you become tired or too complacent.


SIDE DISHES, NOT MAIN COURSES

Put aside questions with out-of-the-box or unexpected answers. These take more time to mark; go back to these answers at the end when the bulk of your marking has been done.

Best of luck to everyone with a red pen in hand at this time in the calendar year!

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