Recently I had a conversation with a valued colleague. She was in a state of feeling completely overwhelmed by our job. I’m sure we can all relate! But in the springtime, we have to administer and correct Interpersonal Speaking Benchmarks. The correcting is insane: 120 students x 3 prompts x 2 min per prompt. Not including the times you may need to listen again or mark their rubric and write comments, the minimal listening time is 12 hours. No wonder she’s overwhelmed! For all of you like us out there, here are some correcting strategies for Spanish teachers!
My first piece of advice is to work with your team and design your unit outline. What will the end of unit assessment be? Once that is decided, add in the required assessments. In my department, we always have 2 interim assessments and one summative. After that, we can give quizzes as we see fit for our students.
So what works for you? What do you need for your gradebook, parents, for understanding where your students are? Personally, I have come to learn some things about myself. They are likely not the same for all of us, but this is what I know about me and my teaching and correcting style.
-my students can and do cheat when they take assessments on their computers, so I don’t give those kind of assessments anymore
-I am fast at correcting mini quizzes that check a specific thing (like vocab or verb conjugations). I use these to inform students and me about their basic skills before we go on to using them in more complicated tasks
-I don’t have time to correct everything they do. I DO have time to enter participation grades (which don’t carry weight, but serve as informational points to signify how invested a student is in the learning and practice opportunities I provide.)
-When I know a big assessment is coming, I work hard to prepare lesson plans/copies ahead, so I can dedicate planning time to correcting.
Set a Goal For Yourself
Oh so many times, I find myself thinking of 1000 other tasks to start instead of my correcting! But I also hate having things hanging over my head. To motivate myself when I don’t want to get started, or keep going, I set tiny goals.
I will correct 3 of these tests, and then I will look at my email.
When I have spent 15 minutes correcting, I will get up and straighten the papers on my front table.
This is a highly effective technique for me. Often, I find that when I give myself permission to stop, it gets me started. And once I get started, I rarely want to stop! Then my goal shifts. Let’s see if I can get 10 corrected before the bell rings!
Give Yourself A Reward
Another great correcting strategy for Spanish teachers is to give yourself a reward! No- I’m not suggesting that you buy yourself a new designer handbag every time you finish a set of tests! (But go ahead if you want to!)
I’m talking small rewards. Ok, this is embarrassing, but my survival technique when I have intense correcting to do has 2 parts. 1) I separate my pile into groups of 5. I put them crisscross, and when I finish 5 and then the next papers are facing a different way, I feel like I made progress! 2) Jelly Belly Jelly Beans. They are a must-have for me while correcting big assessments!
Last of My Correcting Strategies for Spanish Teachers
The practical stuff. Close your door. Pull the curtain down. Set yourself up for success!
There is no way around this harsh truth…. if you are going to make it as a high school Spanish teacher, you have to be able to correct efficiently.
That means being able to focus and use what little time you have efficiently.
Don’t let students come in to make up work during the time you plan to correct. Don’t let colleagues come in to say hi during that period. Don’t let yourself be pulled away into social media land on your phone.
Create habits that will allow you to do your work while you are at school. Keep working on this. Work-life balance is important. It is not always possible for teachers to do all of their correcting in school. But if your goal is the have less stress, and spend less time at home working, really set your intentions while you are in school. Prioritize your need for a quiet, uninterrupted planning time, and be sure to use it for what you planned to do!
Present Subjunctive Spanish Boom™ Cards (self-correcting)
Spanish Culture Spanish/English Digital Escape Room (self-correcting)