Dear Students,

We are presently practicing the three major types of writing: Narrative, Argumentative and Expository.  Well, here’s the deal: writing is used to express a viewpoint, and I have one to express.

I am exhausted, absolutely fed up and exhausted, by the half-truths or blatant lies you tell your parents about your late/missing work.  It seems I spend more time fixing this than I do teaching you.  What gets me the most is when a student tells their parent that their teacher “refused” to grade their work.

So here it is: the top eight reasons why your teachers “refuse” to grade your work…

8) It’s from last semester.  Now, our grading policy is very liberal, but even it cannot save you from this.  If you’d like it graded, it needs to be in by the last day of the semester.

7) You handed it in at the start of the hour and I’ve been teaching since.  Now, I’m a good multitasker…one of the best you’ve ever met, I’d wager, but even I will not try to teach and grade at the same time.  Bonus points if you ask me “did you grade my assignment yet” and I have not even stepped foot near the box.  (Similar: “Did you grade my paper yet?” “I was gone yesterday.”  “So did you grade my paper yet?”)

6) While I do have a good sense of student moods, I’m not yet a mind reader, and just touching your paper is not enough to tell me whose it is…I need to read the name written in the proper ELA heading.  No name papers are thoughtfully put in a folder…I’d suggest you check there first before telling me or your parents that I “refused” to grade your paper.  (Also related, “you must have lost it, Miss.”  Oh really?  Do you know how many papers I’ve actually LOST in the last six years?  One.  And I gave that kid full credit because his paper blew away when I opened my car door.  Don’t try me, child whose book bag has not been cleaned since the first day of school.)

5) The teaching fairy has not gotten me my X-Ray goggles yet.  When she was handing those out I was still in benefits sign up and well, I haven’t been able to track the little pixie down.  Ergo, until I get those, I cannot grade the paper that is still in your binder/book bag/folded up in your pocket/tucked into your text book like I’ve told you 1000X before not to do or lost in the depths of your locker which you never clean.

4) It’s not from my class.  While I do hablo espanol, I am not grading the Spanish assignment you turned in just because it was the same color as the homework I gave you earlier.

3) Now, I’m pretty good at deciphering messy handwriting…it comes from many years of teaching and being in a relationship with a medical student.  However, there are even times I cannot read your chicken scratch and I refuse to make myself stone blind because you cannot take an extra few minutes and write neatly enough for me to read.  (Bonus points if you yourself cannot translate what you wrote, as has been the case I’ve been dealing with lately).

2) It was incomplete.  Sorry, I’m not grading something you did one problem on to try and get points for.  Odds are the points that you’ll get, when factoring the fact that the assignment is already late, will move your grade no more than a tenth of a percentage point.  Then, you still have almost no points for the assignment and if you want it to make a difference in your grade, you’ll have to redo it and then I’ll have to regrade it.  Nope, do it completely the first time.  You’re lucky I give you that opportunity.  (Related: incomplete assignments handed in on time to try and get the Discovery points.  Are you kidding me?)

1) Timing-or lack there of.  Okay, here’s the problem; we have a gray area in our grading policy.  You are told your grade must be up at least 24 hours before any event (a rule that is rarely enforced).  Most of you think this means the paper needs to be in the box 24 hours before the event, which is false.  Your teachers need time to grade that work, and therein lies the problem: our contract set by our administration says we only have to update grades once a week, on Wednesdays.  That means if you hand in late work on a Thursday, *technically* I have until the following Wednesday to grade it before you could reasonably complain I was refusing to grade your work.  Mostly, I grade every two or three days to keep the papers from piling up, but life does happen sometimes.  If the event is Thursday, and you hand in your work on Monday, and we grade it Wednesday, that falls into the 24 hour rule (close enough for government work, anyway).  However, if the event is Saturday, and you hand in the work on Friday at any point, you’re playing with fire.  (Bonus points if you hand it in Friday after school hours and ask me to have it graded by 5:00 AND email your band teacher/coach/parent so you can do whatever it is you want to do that motivated you to turn in the work I’ve been asking you for for goodness only knows how long.  Sorrynotsorry, I have plans and I’m not sacrificing my physical therapy appointment/dinner with my friends/cleaning my house/shampooing my hair/taking a nap/going grocery shopping/whatever else because you failed to plan and now you think it’s an emergency on my part.  DO NOT go home and tell your parents that I “refused” to grade your work.  I’ll get to it-before Wednesday).

To those of you who routinely turn in your work on time, bless you.

First of all, I take late papers.  And what do I do?  I leave the grade blank if you've turned it in...it's only counting against you IF IT IS MISSING.  That way, you know if it's missing or not, and I can give each paper the time and attention to constructively help you write a better one next time.

First of all, I take late papers. And what do I do? I leave the grade blank if you’ve turned it in…it’s only counting against you IF IT IS MISSING. That way, you know if it’s missing or not, and I can give each paper the time and attention to constructively help you write a better one next time.

This is really the best way to avoid this all together...

This is really the best way to avoid this all together…

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