I had to “post” grades today. Beyond keeping track of the grades, we periodically have to post them. No one has a good reason why we have to post grades–I’m not sure where they “go” when they’re posted–but it’s imperative that we do so whenever that email comes around. Super imperative.
So, for a few hours after classes, I wrestled with our county’s online gradebook, a frustrating byproduct of bureaucratic programming-by-committee and irrational administrative decisions. Combined with how depressing my students’ grades are, I’ve got a proper headache.
I teach 3 9th Lit. classes, Journalism 1, Yearbook, and one period of English Literature. That’s 6 classes. But due to state testing changes, No Child Left Behind rules that divide my kids, a handful of yearbook scheduling issues, my gradebook has SIXTEEN different sections. Sixteen.
Sixteen different places where my students wind up in my gradebook. None of them are named anything helpful, unless you can make sense of 23.0610006-9, which I can’t. Some sections only contain one student.
All of this means that I’ve got to create the same set of assignments over and over again, and maintain 16 different rosters of grades, rather than the six I should logically have. And now, posting grades, something that takes many teachers a few minutes, turns into an all-afternoon ordeal as I try to make sense of where all of my students exist on my gradebook.
Don’t get me wrong, teachers have never had it easier, technologically. I can Google “Middle Ages Powerpoint” and have something decent to show my seniors in a matter of seconds (I never do that, but that’s more of a personal issue than anything). BUT my county and the company that runs their grading system could borrow a few steps from, say, Apple’s design philosophy, and make all of these bureaucratic nuances invisible to the everyday user, the teacher, whose time is valuable.
[NOTE: I feel awful complaining to this extent about my job. A rant like this is, if anything, annoyingly self-important. I hate teachers who whine about their pay or their responsibilities. We’re federal employees–some paperwork’s to be expected. Please understand I adore my profession. It’s fulfilling, meaningful, exciting. Every job has its down sides, and teaching is no different. But there’s nothing I’d rather do, warts and all.]