Marking can be Manageable

This is my chant. I say it to myself most nights when I crawl into bed at 11:30pm after doing SOME of my allocated marking.

I hate marking. Despise it. If I ever give up teaching it will be because of my total and utter loathing for (you guessed it)… marking.

For years I have tried to get more ‘on top’ of my marking game. It’s a slow, up-hill battle but I think I’m gaining ground.

One of my (many) poor habits which contributed to a heavy marking workload was not marking books in class when the opportunity arose. That’s right. I simply walked around class, discussing things with pupils, pointing out ways to improve their work and NEVER touched a pen to their books. Shocking I know.


  1. I find it difficult to multitask.
  2. I never have a pen to hand.
  3. I feel like the kids will judge me or be disappointed if I don’t manage to mark their book.

Absolute and utter rubbish excuses all three. So I aimed to improve. Being that point 1 and 3 are nonsense, to ensure point 2 never occurs I have discovered a neat trick: attaching a pen to your person means you always have a pen to hand. (I know! Who would have thought it?!)

Now let me tell you my usual school attire – I wear dresses without pockets or belts. My hair style is not conducive to tucking a pen into. I don’t wear a lanyard because it would end up knocking over equipment and is a safety hazard. So where on Earth could I store a pen?

The answer came to me when Mini-Pirate came home from Summer Camp with a blast-from-the-past adorning her wrist. She was wearing a slap band (also known as a slap bracelet, snap band or snap bracelet). This bit of cloth covered plastic was cheap, rigid and tight to the skin without rubbing. It was wide enough to slide a pen clip over and hold the pen in-line with my arm. It was, like many genius ideas, a revolutionary fluke-finding. I put it up there with Viagra and Febreeze. (Wow that makes it sound like those products have revolutionised my life – please know they didn’t! Pirate is fine on his own and our house smells nice all by itself FYI.) I digress…

So, here I am. Wearing a 4 year olds hand-decorated slap band on my non-dominant hand. Tucked into it, aligned with my inner arm, is my trusty red pen. I use Frixion pens because if I am distracted (see my inability to multitask) I sometimes write words or phrases which are part of an unrelated thought process in a child’s book as part of their feedback. Frixion is ‘erasable’ and has saved me looking like a fool more than once.

So there we have it. My first of many posts on how I battle my biggest teaching nemesis: marking.

Love, cuddles & death stares,