Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Yeah. I didn’t post yesterday. I gave myself the day off. I swear I’m not trying to be a martyr about this whole grading thing, but it is without a doubt melting my brain. My ambitions of getting the whole thing done over the weekend were a fool’s errand that only served to exhaust my ability to function as a human. And by the end of the night last night, my cognitive powers barely allowed for speech, let alone a 500-word treatise on the goofy aspects of Peace Corps life. And hell if I was ready to come up with something blog-worthy when I woke up this morning.

First, let me say that I fully realize I brought this on myself. If there’s anything that annoys me more than anything else, it’s someone who digs themselves a grave and then pisses and moans when they have to lie in it. I take full responsibility for teaching too many classes and not standing up and forcing my school to hire another teacher to bear some of the load. But I’d liken the current situation to “biting off more than I can chew”; I didn’t realize it would be like this.

Cale and Sara came to help last night, thank God. They corrected the multiple choice portions of the year 9 and year 11 exams. With the two of them working diligently, the process still took 3 or 4 hours. I am so so grateful for that because the idea of me spending 6 to 8 hours doing it myself is unbearable.

It’s not that I’m especially frustrated with correcting or that I’m angry or bored or depressed. My reaction seems more guttural. Like a muscle strain or the stomach’s reaction to food poisoning, the body has mechanisms built in to reject harmful substances, and I honestly feel like my brain is putting the lock down.

Thinking back to Friday night when I marked all the year 11 free response in one felled swoop, it now seems obvious that pace was unsustainable. I feel like the marathoner that sprinted the first leg of the course far too hard and doesn’t have the strength to stand by mile 20.

Even as Cale and Sara were sitting in my living room last night marking, I felt guilty because my brain seemed physically incapable of matching their diligence. I sat there staring at the same sentence for 10 minutes at a time, baffled by whether the student was incoherent or I was or both.

I’ve been working until late in the evening when sleep becomes the only solace, and even then I mostly lay around dreading the minute I have to wake up and walk over to the teachers’ lounge to sit around and mark some more.

I’ve made good progress. Years 9 and 11 are completely finished and input into the system. The 10.1s are ready to be alphabetized and entered. The 10.2s need to be tallied. The 10.3s and 10.4s only need one last section corrected before they can be tallied. I feel like I’m rounding the corner into the home stretch.

I really want to be finished, but I really can’t stand the thought of correcting 80 more tests.

I’ll probably just fall asleep.

I hope you’re well. Pictures below.

Cale taking a new approach to marking.

Sara taking the traditional approach.

This shipping container showed up outside my house this afternoon. I have no idea what's inside.


Unknown said...

They never seem to tell you about all the paperwork associated with teaching. You are lucky to have friends to help do the work. Focus on the light at the end of the tunnel-now you understand why teachers need a break periodically. Pretty overwhelming isn't it.

Anonymous said...

Big Faamalo to you Matt... Keep up the good work.


Anonymous said...

Whoa, awesome when cool bloggers get together and achieve a goal. PCV power!

Anonymous said...

Alot of teachers I know have their friends + partners help with grading. Good job :)

Mom said...

You're fortunate to have friends like Sara and Cale. I bet you'll be sad when they leave.