As secondary career and technical education teachers, we often find ourselves juggling multiple preps along with countless administrative tasks like planning and grading. This constant demand can lead to burnout, affecting not only our professional lives but also our personal well-being. In this podcast transcript, we’ll explore strategies to harmonize assessment practices with self-care, tailored for educators like us.

The Stress of Assessment

Grading, especially during peak times like midterms or the end of a term, can be overwhelming. With the advent of digital platforms, the pressure to provide instant feedback has only intensified. However, setting realistic expectations is crucial to maintaining our own well-being.

Setting Boundaries

One key aspect is establishing boundaries. We need to communicate clear guidelines to students and parents regarding grading policies and expectations. While it’s tempting to constantly check and update grades, it’s essential to allocate time for personal life outside of school hours.

Planning Ahead

When setting due dates for assignments, it’s vital to consider our entire workload. Avoid clustering deadlines for different classes on the same day, as this only adds to the stress. Planning ahead and staggering deadlines can help distribute the workload more evenly.

Managing Late Submissions

Dealing with late submissions can be another source of stress. While some educators opt for punitive measures like deducting points, others prefer more flexible approaches.

Implementing Systems

Having a systematic approach to handling late submissions can streamline the process. For instance, creating a designated submission channel or utilizing automated notifications can help manage late work effectively.

Establishing Grading Days

Setting aside specific days dedicated to grading late submissions can prevent them from piling up. By allocating time for this task, we can ensure a fair and consistent approach while maintaining our sanity.

Setting Personal Boundaries

Finally, it’s essential to set boundaries regarding workload outside of school hours. While it’s natural to bring work home occasionally, it’s crucial not to let it encroach on our personal time consistently.

Embracing Self-Compassion

Recognize that it’s okay not to finish everything in one day. Prioritize self-care and spending time with loved ones without guilt. By setting realistic expectations and boundaries, we can achieve a healthier work-life balance.


In summary, finding harmony between assessment practices and personal well-being is essential for educators. By implementing strategies such as setting boundaries, planning ahead, and managing late submissions, we can reduce stress and maintain a healthier balance between work and life. Remember, prioritizing self-care is not selfish but necessary for long-term success in the teaching profession.

Between planning and grading, those are the two items that we spend the most time on during our day. depending on your course load and your class sizes, you can be spending a lot of time on assessment. Especially outside of your contracted hours and outside of your classroom.

We know the statistics that 50 percent of teachers who have experienced burnout and they are continuing to experience burnout every single year, and it may not be full blown burnout, but I can imagine that each and every one of us have felt some part of burnout or some feelings of burnout during some point in your career, if not during this school year.

Today we’re going to be talking a lot about how assessment practices, and how that can help with your wellness and your self care as a teacher.

The most stressful point of any term, is when grades are due. either it’s midterms End of the term or you have parent teacher conferences coming up you have to get a bunch of grading done all at once because everyone’s waiting, checking their grades which is totally a new thing since we’re online.

when I was growing up, we weren’t checking our grades all the time. we had to physically go in walk up to the wall and look to see what our grade was. And honestly, I don’t remember, bothering our teachers about, when my grade was going to be updated.

But now, now that things are digitized, our teachers or our parents and our students, they have devices with an app that hooks up to our SIS systems. And it just, it makes it so that the moment that they turn something in, it is supposed to be graded,

If they were using AI and an LMS that was like auto grading, but anything that is going to require your expertise and your time as a teacher, it is completely unreasonable for parents and students to expect that that thing is going to be graded and instantly updated. But, I know, we can all tell stories about kids who come in trying to save their grade, or get something, something is being held over them, whether it’s they can’t drive the car, or something, and for some reason, now you are the bad guy, because they are turning in their assignment late.

So, we’re going to be talking a lot about boundaries today. when it comes to self care and assessment and giving you some practical strategies that you can use to help you stay on top of your grading and inputting grades, as well as making sure that you can still spend time. with your loved ones outside of the school day.

And the first thing we’re going to be talking about is when we’re setting up our due dates to begin with. This is just in the planning.   đź“Ť đź“Ť When you are planning for assignments and due dates and deadlines, I want to stress to you to make sure that you are looking at all of your classes.

One mistake that is commonly made a lot is that we don’t pay attention to when due dates are for other assignments. We have like three projects due on the same day. And not only are they three projects, but there are three projects for three different classes. And so they all require a different rubric or some other part of our brain to give feedback  to.

When you are going to be assigning something, look ahead and don’t have everything due on the same day. Now, there are some other strategies that you can do as well. Now we’ve planned, we’re good, we made sure that things are kind of staggered. There are some times that this may not work out so well.

That would be end of term projects, but there are some tricks there. one of the things you can do is grade along the way. You have your major deadline. But in reality, you have given students scores, grades, about 90 percent of that prior to that deadline.

You’ve been grading actively along the way. You’ve been giving feedback Students have a pretty good idea of what they’re going to get, regardless of whether or not they turn something in on time. That will save you a ton of time, and guide your students When we talked about, in the previous two episodes, about formative assessment, this is really going to play into that, because you are going to have less work in the end, because you have an idea of where they are, and you’ve steered them and corrected them along the way

Now let’s zoom ahead for your kiddos who are trying to turn things in late. you can have whatever policy you want. I don’t like, subtracting points for things that are missing or late, mainly because it takes a lot of time and work for me to remember when was that due, when did they turn it in, how much percentages I’m taking off.

Like, honestly, that’s the main reason why I don’t support policies like that, because there’s more work. For you as a teacher but there are some boundaries you can set Regardless of whether you are subtracting points, or allowing them to get full credit, have certain systems in place.

How do they turn in missing assignments? Do you have a specific place in your classroom where you’re going to have them turn it in? Or have they, is there a certain way for them to notify you that they’ve turned something in? I’ve got a friend, Brittany Blackwell, who she has like a missing assignment Google form that she has students fill out and then it sends her an email alerting her that they’ve submitted something.

Now that doesn’t mean that she’s going to instantly go and grade that, but she at least knows that. She should watch for it, because sometimes your LMS, if you’re using an LMS, won’t notify you that that has actually been resubmitted. Or sometimes you have to go into a certain place and find that assignment that has been resubmitted.

Having students turn something in, that’s a great automation that she uses in her class, The other thing is to create some system where Regardless of when students turn in missing work, this is the day that you’re going to be grading those. Perhaps it’s Tuesday.

Tuesday is my day that I am going to be going through and finding all the missing work If you turn it in on Wednesday, you’re going to wait until next Tuesday when I have time to reassess. The hardest thing about Missing work as a teacher is that more likely than not, you’re getting like one assignment from each class and it does take longer than if you were to have a stack of 10.

Now, you could also stagger that and have different class periods or different subjects be for different days. that system could work for you, but letting your parents know is going to be. Super important as well. So, my other friend, Jen Manley, she had this series on Instagram about boundaries, and she has some great scripts to send to parents, about boundaries.

And letting them know, and she does it in such a brilliant way. I’ll link her Instagram account in the show notes. That you can check out that boundary series. Because her scripts just take turning in assignments and being the teacher. so that you are not the bad guy, but that you are responding in a professional way that can also be understood by parents.

My final tip for having this wellness is to set some boundaries as far as when you’re going to be taking things home and when not. Because There are occasions where you might feel like you need to take things home and it’s totally acceptable. Maybe you do need to finish grading a couple of things, but don’t feel bad because your goal is to leave the school without anything in hand, but yet you’re taking something home.

Don’t take that guilt with you, realize that it’s okay if you don’t finish everything. If you’ve set the boundary that you are going to leave at four o’clock every single day and you have things to grade, it’s okay. you can come back to the the next day Don’t feel guilty about needing to go home and spending time with your family and your loved ones. Today we went over several ideas on setting boundaries and how to manage your workload so that you don’t have to do as much outside of school. go through, if you need to re listen to this, get some tips.

We’ve got some automation tips from Brittany Blackwell, some boundary emails that Jen Manley, and then some tips for myself as far as grading during class, having specific deadlines, and making sure that when you are first assigning any assignment, just to set yourself up for success, make sure that you stagger those deadlines.

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