When I first started teaching, I worked at a school where staying late was not an option. It simply wasn't safe. So, I used to lug home a bag or grading and planning every night. Most of the time I got to all of it and then rolled not bed. I wasn't married, had no kids and so my time was my own. Fast forward a few years.. add in a husband and a couple of kids and rarely did I complete all that I dragged home. Sound familiar?
Here's the gig. Teaching is exhausting- emotionally and physically. We have to take care of ourselves too. I see teacher parents grading at their kids baseball games, posting about how late they stayed up to finish everything, etc. Our families and our health are much too important for us to continue in that vein.
Get your calendar and schedule regular grading time.
Add in extra grading time to your schedule as soon as you assign a project.
Try scheduling grading 1 hour before or an hour after school on specific days every week.
Schedule lunch time grading 2-3 days a week.
Spot check work as the students are staring work in class. Less grading to do later and catch the problems before they are ingrained.
Give more focused (and less work) for homework. Think like Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. How do we get kids to do a month's worth of practice in 6 minutes? Short, focused work.
Exit tickets. Seriously. Doing an engaging activity or investigation with a quick, thoughtful check for understanding at the end is often more valuable learning than pages of work.
Yes, you can schedule a bit of time on a weekend or week night, but stick to that time only. Let your family know this is "my grading time" - no interruptions. Plan ahead for family time with them when the timer rings. PRO PARENT TIP: Have little ones that don't nap anymore or won't be napping anytime soon? Have toys that only come out when it's grading time. Pack them up as soon as the timer rings.
Get to it!