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Do the math: Correcting papers is a mammoth task

May 26, 2010

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IN HER op-ed “Failure to communicate,’’ Kara Miller shines a light on the insane paper load that we secondary English teachers face (or avoid) every Sunday. Rather than simply blaming high school English teachers for not getting kids up to speed, Miller asks: “If it takes me all weekend to correct 40 papers, how can a high school English teacher begin to tackle 120 papers (four sections, 30 students per section) in a detail-oriented way?’’

So, 120 papers? If only. Many of the English teachers in my public school district teach five classes, 34 students per class.

Let’s do the math.

Five classes times 34 students equals 170 students.

Twenty minutes per essay adds up to 3,400 minutes.

Divide that by 60 minutes, and the English teachers I know will spend 56.67 hours grading one assigned essay. That’s on top of teaching five classes a day, five days a week.

Safia J. Cross
New York

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