Lily's Work/Life Balance

As a middle school English teacher and a creative writer, I go through a number of processes each day that seem resistant to optimization, automation, and/or outsourcing, so I'm taking some of them as challenges to try and figure out how to streamline.

Process One: Grading

Step one: Collect assignment papers into neat stacks, organized by class
Step two: Grade individual paper according to assignment requirements or key
Step three: Calculate final grade, write it at the top of the page
Step four: Add any necessary comments, from "great job!" to "see me," etc.
Step five: Shift into "done" stack
Repeat step five until all papers are done
Step six: When all papers are graded, manually input grades into computer system
Step seven: Checking attendance roster, change grade to "zero" for any students present on the due date who did not turn in assignment
(Note: outsourcing any of these tasks is illegal under FERPA)

Substeps to step six:

  1. Open internet browser
  2. Navigate to grading system website
  3. Sign in with username and password
  4. From home page, open gradebook
  5. Click "New Assignment"
  6. Enter information for new assignment: title, category, date, point value
  7. Click "Section"
  8. Check all the boxes for classes receiving this assignment
  9. Click "Save Assignment"
  10. From top menu, return to main grade book
  11. With drop-down menu, navigate to relevant class
  12. Pick up first paper on stack, find student in alphabetized roster
  13. Click into the input box for this assignment
  14. Enter grade using keyboard number pad
  15. Repeat 12-14 until all papers have been entered
  16. Click "Save Grades"
  17. Shift stack of papers into "to pass back" pile, clipped and labeled with class name

Process Two: Classroom morning set up

Step one: Sign-in to front office
Step two: Go to staff lounge, put away/deal with lunch
Step three: Make any necessary copies
Step four: Go upstairs to room, unlock
Step five: Unpack computer & plug it in on desk
Step six: Set out any daily hand-outs in pick-up location
Step seven: Write on board (Update date, bell-work, homework, and daily objective)
Step eight: Set up projector, powerpoint, and remote clicker, if relevant. 
Step nine: Any last-minute tidying (clearing out turn-in box, moving papers off desk, setting out post-its, etc.)
Step ten: Welcome class in
Step eleven: Fill out attendance sheet, clip outside door

Process Three: Online presence management

Step one: Review feeds on tumblr, pinterest, twitter, Google reader, etc.
Step two: repost/retweet/repin/etc. content that stands out as relevant or interesting
Step three: Get overwhelmed by amount of content, skim or quit
Step four: Reply or comment where relevant (need to do this more often - usually more social than professional or networking)
Step five: Post any new content I have in mind (usually from an open bookmark tab - need to get this system more under control)


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