Marking books

The piles of grubby books, pristine

Back in September days when leaves were turning

And shoes were shining straight from Clark’s.

But now they’ve passed through many hands

As pens were chewed, checking answers nervously

Before they passed them back to teachers waiting

With red pens, ready to write ‘well done,

Good try’. But think of all those hours

Buried under marking schemes and reams

Of answers for so many hours,

Burning candles at the midnight hour,

Sleep filled eyes are drooping with

A sadness as she sees that pile

That isn’t going down. She’ll carry on

For many hours yet to come, waking on

The sagging sofa as the sun begins to rise.

5 thoughts on “Marking books

  1. Margot Kinberg

    Marking time can really take it out of a person, can’t it? It’s sometimes hard to remember that each book you mark represents a student – a real person. That’s why marking can take such a long time for a thoughtful, caring teacher: so much can be at stake for the student.

      1. crispina kemp

        Yea, all those young malleable minds in your hands. The wrong words, the wrong mark… I remember (aged 11) being told a piece of creative writing I’d submitted was *unique* and to this day I wonder if that was a compliment or a disguised criticism

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