The fun bit about having over 200 students and no marking support is that at the end of the term, all the assignments come due at the same time. Have you ever tried to mark 200 term papers, 30 presentation essays, and 200 exams in a two-week period? It’s hard. There is crying. And towards the end, you come to the inevitable but worrying realisation that if you go to sleep for even a few minutes at any point in the next forty hours, you’re not going to finish on time.
Everyone has a different strategy for coping with the dreaded all-nighter. As I don’t drink coffee, mine involves Pepsi and jelly beans, neither of which are good for me but both of which give me just enough of a rush that I can stay away for a few minutes more. Staying awake all day and all night and all day again by drinking gallons of Pepsi was a bad strategy, but it was all I’d got. I also posted updates on Twitter every time I finished ten more exams. I’m not sure this accomplished anything besides annoying all my Twitter followers.
I finished marking with an hour and a half left before the grade-submission deadline. You would think this would have been a good thing, but not really; I still had to create a grading spreadsheet, enter 200 participation marks, and submit 200 grades to four separate pages. This ended up taking me an hour and twenty-nine minutes. I got the grades in with one minute to spare. By that point, I was seeing little creatures move around on the other side of the room, and when I stood up, I bumped into walls I hadn’t realised were there.
When you’re really tired and saturated with Pepsi, you’re also really hyper. Despite my condition, I stayed up until 10:00 p.m. My entire brain hurt.
There’s no real moral here beyond “Marking systematically destroys one’s sanity,” but, you see, I’m still tired. I would like to experience the sensation of having a T.A. eventually. That would be nice.