Evidence that one needs other things in one's life as well as marking essays

If I had time, I would like to do a linguistic analysis of what happens to my marking when I've got a pile of essays to assess and no time in which to do it.   Put it this way, at the start of the pile, I am writing complete, standard English sentences, and by the end of the pile, punctuation has taken over as a major form of communication.  I haven't yet resorted to emoticons, but there's always a first time...

Jane, don't forget to use paragraphs to structure your essay
Use paragraphs to structure your essay
Paragraphs will help structure
Don't forget - paragraphs!

Try to expand your ideas a little further than this, Stephen
Try to expand ideas a little further
Expansion of ideas needed
Expand your ideas

You should mention his use of metaphor for comparison here, Mark
Mention his use of metaphor here
Mention the metaphor
The metaphor?

Your use of punctuation is random throughout this essay and causes confusion, Rebecca
You use punctuation confusingly throughout this essay
Confusing punctuation throughout
Improve punctuation
Punctuate or die!

If you want the highest marks, you'll need to write more than this, Ian
Write more than this for higher marks
Higher marks? Write more!
Write more, please.
Is this it?
E minus!!!

You don't seem to have grasped how to analyse poetry very well, Mary.
You haven't grasped analytical skills very well yet.
Analytical skills need improvement.
Improve analysis, please.
Call this analysis?

She wore her most startlingly-patterned  top to mark in, but even that couldn't keep her awake.


  1. This made me laugh out loud.
    This made me laugh.

    1. Great comment! Thanks. Now no one else can comment like that and be original!

  2. Loved it! Although I shan't try to compete with Invisible Woman, I feel for you! My first (late) husband was a headmaster, and he treasured the memory of the woodwork report written just above his physics one:
    "Bobby has worked hard all term, and finally managed to produce a small stool."

    (Irrelevant, I know, but vaguely connected to marking...?)

    1. Brilliant! A comment I remember from my report was 'Frances's efforts are dangerously selective.' I just so wish we were allowed to write witty things like that on reports these days. I think the modern translation would be 'Frances shows a keen attitude in the areas in which her enthusiasms lie, and in others is still developing her ability to focus completely.' Or some such waffle.

  3. I end up writing What?


  4. Anonymous4/11/12 00:53

    Thank you - now when number one daughter gets her essays back, I'll be able to interpret her teachers one/two word comments correctly.

    1. Glad to help. I've always wanted to write a dictionary.

  5. My father occasionally just used " Balderdash ! " .
    It seemed to work .

    1. I imagine it would. But you were allowed to do that then. In fact, I remember teachers at my school who'd just put a red pen mark through your work and that was it. No ambiguity there ...

  6. its a bit like my eBay listings when I have heaps of items to sell.
    Starts off as "beautiful vintage fabric that belonged to blah de blah..."
    around about the middle of the pile its "vintage fabric measuring..."
    and by the end its "see photos..."

    1. Ha ha! Funny. It happens to us all, then!

  7. Most of my teachers commented, 'must try harder'. There have been times when I wished they had practised what they preached, but considering what they had to deal with, their general apathy is probably understandable. The teachers who got the best out of me, were those who possessed a sense of humour much like yours, Fran.

    1. I had 'must try harder' on lots of mine, too. Or even just 'must try'. And, in some subjects, 'must try not to get sent out of the class'.

  8. I had a comment something like, "Penny's contribution to discussion is good when she is brave enough to speak ..."

    Now I talk for England ! ( and would love a discussion with that history teacher now as I remember he was a lot of fun )

    1. I wish I could talk to my old English teacher, too. I messed him about something rotten and I want to apologise. He really inspired me - I just don't think I showed it at the time. We are so silly when we're teenagers.

  9. Hahaha! My husband is a teacher and has occasionally resorted to using a smiley face stamp on some of his marking.....and even that fades like your words as he loses the will to live and doesn't have the energy to re-ink it.

    Anna May x

  10. Hilarious! And true. I occasionally resorted to a sad emoticon (hand drawn though - that makes all the difference).


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