by Sharon Wood
Having been a supply teacher for a number of years, I needed an outlet, and SupplyBag.co.uk is it! Advice, information, and support for other supply teachers, and here, I take a look at the age old ‘do I or don’t I mark the work?’ issue.
Marking Work: Rule number 9 of my 10 Commandments is ‘mark the work’ and I have written some advice in that section. I believe marking to be an invaluable part of the teaching/learning process. What the children learn from/through you doesn’t end when they leave to go home. You probably average three lots of marking to do per day of teaching, which means three more opportunities to communicate with the child about their work.
Yes, many times it’s just a case of a tick and a mini-comment, but more often than not you will have both literacy and numeracy to mark. Do this as you would if they were your own class. As the children are often near strangers to you, you may feel it is difficult to mark their work effectively, but there is feedback you can give the children which is highly appropriate. The children need to know whether or not they have met the objective, if they exceeded it, where they can improve their work, that you were pleased with their contribution in class, how well they did against the lesson’s success criteria and perhaps what you would have expected to see if they were to rise to the next level.
Unless you are well-known to the school, and your handwriting will be recognised by many teachers, put your initials/name by the side of the marked work. This is especially helpful to schools when moderating, having OFSTED Inspections and on parents’ evenings. Mark neatly, in the same colour as the work is generally marked in, and try to follow the school’s individual marking scheme (ask for it in the morning!) as far as you are able with the information given.
Many schools have their marking policies online. Knowledge is power: check the websites of the schools in your area.
Just as an aside, I once did a day of supply teaching in a new-to-me school, in a Year 6 class. They had been set: SATs papers for the day! English Writing before break, Maths Paper A after break, English Reading after lunch, then a PE lesson. And yes, I was expected to mark it all. I duly did, and was home by around 6:30pm. I didn’t mind at all, but what I did mind / find disturbing was that the teacher wasn’t interested in marking the work herself!