Grading is the most time intensive aspect of my job. On an individual basis I do enjoy grading. It's fulfilling to see the finished products of my students' work, to see how far they've advanced. However, when you're faced with hours upon hours of grading, it's easy to stop seeing the forest for the trees.
Today each of my classes were working independently producing writing pieces. I knew at the end of the day I would have 135 to grade, as well as about 30 student memoirs carried over from before spring break. Rather than hem and haw over how and when I would get all of it done, I threw myself into the process. While my students were occupied with their work I dove into the prior block's stack of papers, and kept grading through my students' lunch and my prep period. When the bell rang I was tired, but with only a set of compositions left, I stayed until each one was read and graded.
As I put on my coat to come home I looked at the five neat stacks of graded papers, ready to be returned to my students. It often feels good to tackle a project and see it all the way through in a single sitting. I'm grateful to now have a grading-free weekend and to have avoided the mental stress that comes with an unfinished project. I am so thankful to have the work completed, to bask in the accomplished feeling of success and productivity.