- Money Focus:
Exam marking – use your knowledge to make money.
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Many teachers and lecturers – both active and retired – boost their income by marking GCSE and other exam papers. It’s a useful way of squeezing extra cash out of something you already know how to do. If you’d like to mark exams for some extra income then read on…
- What’s involved in exam marking?
How much can I make?
What costs will there be, what training and qualifications will i need, what’s involved in exam marking.
Exam boards generally recruit throughout the year with the bulk of examiners employed for the summer. Most exam marking is done in June and then a bit more in January, leaving you free for the rest of the year.
You might get one other batch of exam marking if you’re lucky. However, you are unlikely to get four contracts in twelve months.
Exam marking usually takes three or four weeks for which the examiner will be paid something in the range of £500 to £1,000. The number of scripts involved varies from subject to subject, as does the payment per script. Some subjects are tougher to mark so examiners are paid more for each one and given fewer of them.
Training is provided for new examiners. In addition to this, you have to attend a standardisation meeting for each contract to ensure consistency.
You can expect to earn between £500 and £1,000 over three or four weeks, more than enough to pay for a week or two in the sun!
Nothing except your time, although you will need your own computer for online exam marking. This is because most scripts are now marked through an online system.
Training days are free and most exam boards will bear the replacement costs if you have to miss a day of teaching. To reimburse these costs, exam boards will often give you a teacher release voucher. As well as this, you should get travel expenses too.
You must be fully qualified in the subject you’re examining and ideally have teaching experience in it. Computer literacy is just as important, as you’ll most likely be required to work online as an examiner.
There will be training days where new examiners learn the secrets of standardised exam marking. Here you’ll be monitored throughout the exam marking process.
- You can work alongside your current role.
- Three or four weeks will earn you enough to take a holiday!
- Being an examiner will look good on your CV.
- It will improve your teaching. There’s nothing like marking 300 scripts to help you realise what examiners like and dislike.
- The training sessions provide valuable networking opportunities.
- Oh yes, and you can work at home where the coffee is probably better than at work.
- There even may be an opportunity to become a senior examiner too.
- The work comes in short, sharp, concentrated bursts.
- 500 pieces of work are a lot to get through in three or four weeks.
- Self-discipline and effective time management are a must. You can’t leave it all to the last minute, plus you owe the students a clear mind.
- Assessment Qualifications Alliance (AQA)
- Oxford, Cambridge and RSA Examinations
- Edexcel (an awarding body that provides academic and vocational qualifications)
- Welsh Joint Education Committee
- Council For The Curriculum Examination Assessment (Northern Ireland)
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
It’s interesting, thanks!
Something I’ve considered in the past and may well in the future. Appreciate the info.
Great Information about Make Money Online. I really like this Article Thank You Very Much
Please help me begin this task
I am Integrative Psychotherapist and have a Masters in Integrative Counselling anf Psychotherapy. I would like to earn extra income script marking with in this field or English.
How do i proceed with this ?
Take a look at the article Ferdousa. We tell you where to go. Best to start with local colleges and universities.
I am very interested in making some extra money by marking work. Can you please give me some advice as to how i proceed with this?
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The Work at Home Wife
Helping you work at home and make money online
Get Paid to be an Online Test Grader
By Angie Nelson
Last Updated February 14, 2023 . Disclosure: We may receive compensation if you sign up for or purchase products linked below. Details on offers may change, and you should confirm them with the company prior to taking action.
One work-from-home job loved by many in my community is contracting as an online test grader. In this position, you are working online grading tests, essays, and other papers. In many cases, these essays are submitted as part of standardized tests like the ACT or SAT. In some cases, they are in conjunction with Engish as a Second Language, or ESL , studies.
To qualify for many of these positions, you often need a bachelor’s degree. Some companies allow that degree to be in any subject. Others may be looking for specific degrees like English. Make sure you read through the company’s current job openings for specifics.
Online grading work opportunities are seasonal in most cases. We see many companies hiring in the fall and spring as this is when most standardized testing is done. That being said, don’t be afraid to check for openings in the off-season as well. And once you are accepted as an online scorer, most companies will invite you back year after year provided you do a good job and meet the workload requirements.
8 Legit Online Grading Jobs
1. measurement, inc..
Measurement, Inc. is one of the most popular scoring jobs with my readers. They require a bachelor’s degree in any subject. Their projects include test items in English Language Arts, mathematics, science, and other areas.
For most remote positions with this company, they do expect you to work Monday through Friday for the duration of your temporary contract. Their busy season is March through June. Available hours may vary by project.
Onsite positions are usually open year-round. Hiring for remote work is typically done from November through March. Openings were listed on the site at the time of writing this post.
Pearson is a well-known name in the learning community. They hire tutors , at-home test developers, online test scorers, and more. The company was named as a Top 100 Company with Remote Jobs by FlexJobs and they have a solid review rating on Glassdoor of 3.6 out of 5 stars.
Opportunities vary throughout the year and some may be location-specific . Most positions are temporary and project-based. A bachelor’s degree is required.
One of their most recent scoring openings was for an edTPA Scorer. This particular test makes sure new teachers are ready for the classroom. This was a more specialized scorer job and required not only a bachelor’s degree but also teaching experience or experience working with teachers.
You can often find Pearson’s most recent needs and requirements on FlexJobs .
Educational Testing Service, or ETS, provides scoring and test development for a variety of tests from student leader proficiency tests to high school equivalency exams (examples: Pravis, GRE, TOEFL.) As such, the requirements can vary greatly for each position. Some positions require a bachelor’s degree. Some require a Master’s. Some require applicants to possess a current teaching certificate while others do not.
4. Write Score
The Write Score site states that orientation for their scoring season will begin in late July to early August though positions are available throughout the year.
Unlike other companies, Write Score only requires a two-year degree and the ability to pass their qualifying test. They do accept resumes for their waitlist and applicants are contacted as needed.
ACT hires Readers to read and score student papers for the ACT Writing Test. This is an opportunity to read and score anytime and from any personal computer.
The site states this is performance-based work. Your earnings will depend on the accuracy and number of essays scored. The company does say Readers can earn $12 per hour or more.
To qualify, you will need a bachelor’s degree or higher, reside in the U.S., and have current teaching experience. Teaching English to high school students (junior and senior level) is preferred.
6. Creative English Solutions
Creative English Solutions, or CES, provides evaluations for students wishing to take the TOEFL, Testing of English as a Foreign Language, and TOEIC, Test of English for International Communication. As such, applicants must be native English speakers and possess a University degree.
Positions at CES offer a lot of flexibility. Though they do ask for a commitment of at least 10 hours per week, Evaluators can accept and decline assignments as they wish and on their own schedule.
In addition to hiring Evaluators, CES also hires freelance writers and voice actors.
Literably is a little different in that their scorers evaluate oral recordings of elementary students. Transcriptionists listen to student audio recordings and transcribe errors.
This position does not require any experience or special degrees. You simply need to pass their sample tasks. As with most transcription jobs, pay is based on performance, speed, and accuracy.
This is a flexible position and you can set your own hours.
8. ALTA Language Services
If you possess native fluency in another language, ALTA Language Services currently has several testing evaluator positions available. These are typically on-demand, part-time positions.
A degree is required, as is a minimum English proficiency level of a 2+/2+ on the ILR proficiency scale. As with most companies in this industry, training is required and paid.
At the end of the day, you aren’t going to get rich as an online test grader. At the time of writing this post, most positions offer average pay of $10 to $13 per hour. That being said, it can be flexible, fulfilling work at home for the right person. Most people report being happy with these positions. The biggest complaint is often that the work isn’t available year-round, but many consider it a nice supplemental income source.
About Angie Nelson
Angie Nelson began working from home in 2007 when she took her future into her own hands and found a way to escape the corporate cubicle farm. Today she balances several successful online ventures and loves to share her passion for home business with others.
Angie Nelson began working from home in 2007 when she figured out how to take her future into her own hands and escape the corporate cubicle farm. Angie’s goal is sharing her passion for home business, personal finance, telecommuting, and entrepreneurship, and her work has been featured on Recruiter, FlexJobs and Business News Daily.
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- Write Personal Essays and Get Paid: 16 Markets for Freelancers
1. The Alpinist
2. brain, child , 3. the bold italic, 4. bugle magazine, 5. buzzfeed, 6. christian science monitor: home forum, 7. dame magazine, 8. the establishment, 9. extra crispy, 10. motherwell , 11. narratively, 12. new york times – modern love, 13. the penny hoarder, 15. the smart set, 16. vox first person, get paid to write personal essays: what you need to know, previous post, related posts, a brand new opportunity for writers has finally arrived, best accounting software for freelancers: freshbooks vs quickbooks vs wave (& more), wordgigs review — is it worth it (2023).
It’s the romantic version of being a freelance writer.
Take a vacation, and write about your adventures. Survive your toddler’s terrible-twos and share your advice. Dabble in online dating and tell others the good, the bad, and the ugly about your experience.
Sounds pretty good, right?
If you have a unique perspective, experience, thoughts, or advice from your side of the fence, you can get paid to write personal essays…in just about any niche.
But you need to know where to look when learning how to make money writing , and how to pitch an editor when you do. Note: There are still plenty of opportunities to write personal essays, but not all are well-paying assignments.
Want to find freelance writing jobs ? Check out these 16 markets for places to get paid to write personal essays:
Are you an experienced mountain climber or new to the sport? Are you on a mission to bag as many peaks around the world as possible? Know a climbing destination every serious adventurer needs to visit? The Alpinist wants to hear from you. Pitch an idea for a personal essay to Senior Editor Katie Ives for The Climbing Life or Off Belay.
Rate: Pays $0.25/word for 250 to 500-word essays.
When writer Penne Richards lost her daughter in a car accident, she struggled to deal with the loss. Writing about the difficult experience for Brain, Child , proved to be a powerful way to help her grieve. Not every essay in this magazine covers such heavy-hitting topics. But it is a place where you can write long-form essays on a wide range of subjects and topics. Send your pitch to editor and publisher Marcelle Soviero .
Rate: Pays $300 for 1,500 to 4,500-word essays.
Live in San Francisco, or have a connection to The City By the Bay that’s changed the way you see the world? The Bold Italic Editor-in-Chief Keith Spencer wants to hear from you. This online magazine has published personal essays on the gig economy, online dating, mental illness, and many other topics with a San Francisco angle.
Rate: $50 per essay
If you want to write personal essays about elk hunting, land-use issues, conservation, wildlife management and exploring the Rocky Mountains, pitch an idea Bugle Magazine Assistant Editor Kasey Rahn . Here’s the catch, the section where you’re most likely to land an assignment is for the “Women in Outdoors” column. Submit a pitch or send a personal essay on spec for review.
Rate: Pays $0.20/word for 1,000 to 3,000-word essays.
Looking to score some serious exposure? Write a personal essay for the popular site Buzzfeed, which gets an estimated 168 million unique visitors per month. Pick a topic and tell readers about what you know, what you’ve learned, or share your point of view. “Whatever that experience is, it should offer insight into an ongoing and relevant cultural conversation for readers,” says BuzzFeed Editor Rachel Sanders.
Rate: Pays an estimated $0.13 to $0.27 per word.
Mark Sappenfield was promoted to editor at The Christian Science Monitor earlier this year, after a decade of writing for this well-known publication. He says “The Home Forum” section is the best place to pitch personal essays, which can cover a wide range of topics. Current interests for essay topics include travel, parenting, home, family, gardening, neighborhood, and community. Submit completed essays for consideration.
Rate: Pays $75 to $150 for 400 to 800-word essays.
This edgy women’s magazine likes to push the envelope with witty, irreverent, and provocative content, which includes personal essays. “ Our objective is to move the conversation forward around trending and topical subjects most relevant to women-that is, when we’re not starting the conversation,” says Dame Magazine Editor Kera Bolonik . Query first, before submitting a completed essay.
Rate: Pays an estimated $0.13/word.
This online magazine run by women has a lot in common with Dame Magazine . It’s edgy, quirky, and was created to provide a place for people to share their ideas. Need a dose of inspiration? Check out the recent essay written by Rachel McCarthy James: Can you make Donald Trump resign from your nightmares? Have an essay idea? Reach out to The Establishment Editor Nikki Gloudeman.
Rate: Pays $125 per 800 to 1,500-word essays.
Your mother always told you not to skip breakfast. This is why: You can get paid to write about it. Extra Crispy is all about what people eat for breakfast. Recipes are a must, along with the story that goes with them. But it has to be smart, fun, weird, or have a fresh angle on the typical breakfast, says Extra Crispy Editor Ryan Grim.
Rate: Pays an estimated $0.47/word for 800 to 1,000-word essays.
Not everybody experiences parenting the same way. And not everybody has the same opinions on raising kids. And that’s why Randi Olin and Lauren Apfel created Motherwell magazine. “We’re looking for evocative first-person narratives that have a unique focus, or take a novel angle, on a slice of the parenting experience,” says Olin. Submit completed essays up to 1,200 words for consideration.
Rate: Pays $50 for up to 1,200-word essays.
If you want to get paid to write a personal essay for Narratively, you need to have a story to tell that offers readers a glimpse into whatever makes your life different, interesting, or even abnormal. Like lawyer Amy Bond’s recent essay, “ Twitter trolls outed my porn star past. So I embraced it. ” Be sure your essay includes a “takeaway” or lesson for readers. Submit a pitch or completed essay for consideration.
Rate: Pays $200-300 for 2,000 – 2,500-word essays.
Think writing for The New York Times is out of reach? Think again. You don’t have to be an established writer to land an assignment to write for the Modern Love column. You just need to have something fresh to say about relationships, marriage, dating, and parenthood. For more on how to break into this market, check out the advice from Modern Love editor Daniel Jones .
Rate: Pays $300 per 1,500 to 1,700 word essays.
This frugal-living, money-saving website covers a wide range of topics meant to provide people with practice ways to earn and save money. Pitch an idea to The Penny Hoarder Editor Alexis Grant and find an angle for an evergreen topic.
Rate: Pays an estimated $0.08/word for 700 to 900 word essays. Negotiable.
Working on the next great American novel? Writing a non-fiction book? Or wondering where you can publish poetry? There aren’t a lot of markets for this type of essay writing. But Slice magazine, created by Maria Gagliano and Celia Johnson , happens to be one of them. “We’re looking for anyone with a fresh voice and a compelling story to share-basically any work that really knocks our socks off,” says Gagliano. “We simply look for works by writers who promise to become tomorrow’s literary legends.”
Rate: Pays $250 for essays up to 5,000 words.
Magazines were a different breed in the early 1900s when H.L. Mencken and George Nathan published the literary magazine The Smart Set. And while the magazine folded in 1930, it’s literary focus on covering culture, arts, science, and world affairs wasn’t forgotten. The magazine was reincarnated at Drexel University in Pennsylvania and publishes personal essays on a wide range of topics.
Rate: Pays an estimated $0.07/word for 1,000 to 3,000-word essays.
If you have a great story to tell that helps explain an important issue, Vox First Person Editor Eleanor Barkhorn wants to hear from you. This online magazine wants thoughtful, in-depth, provocative and personal narratives on politics, culture, science, health, and world views with a fresh perspective.
Rate: Pays an estimated $0.19 to $0.41/word for 1,200 to 3,000-word essays.
Every publication is going to have slightly different guidelines for writing personal essays.
For magazines , a nalyze your favorite pub, and you’ll likely find a personal essay among the pages. Study those. Then check Writers Market for submission guidelines (which usually requires submitting a completed essay instead of a pitch).
For blogs and other outlets , study examples of past essays, and read the guidelines, which you can usually find online. While most editors want a complete draft of a personal essay, instead of a pitch, that’s not the case for every publication.
Obviously personal essays are going to focus on something from your own life experience. But you need to find a way to bring it back to the reader, make it relevant to their own life, and give them some kind of take-away message.
Keep that in mind, and you’ll be able to land gigs and get paid to write personal essays.
Know of other markets to get paid to write personal essays?
Erica Verrillo writes about the business of freelance writing on her blog. She is also the author of the “Phoenix Rising” trilogy novels and “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Treatment Guide.”
Note: It came to our attention after publication that some content in this post had been previously published. We have double-checked and confirmed that the information is still current.
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‘Miles Walked, Miles Driven’: This Year’s College Essays About Money
Each year, we seek out college application essays about money, work or social class. Here are five from writers who are now undergraduates.
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By Ron Lieber
Photographs by Lexi Parra
Ron Lieber wrote one of his college application essays about a television commercial for the company formerly known as Waste Management.
- Oct. 22, 2022
Writing a personal essay is more art than science. Discussing money — what you or your family has or lacks — is tricky under the best of circumstances. Doing both well is harder still, especially if you’re a teenager and a committee of grown-ups will sit in judgment on whatever you produce.
Each year, we invite essayists to forward their work to us after they’ve submitted their thoughts on money, work, social class and related matters as part of their college applications. At their best, they inspire a kind of empathy, even if money is not on your mind all that often.
This time, we find ourselves in the human resources department with a racing mind; the kitchen as a daughter observes her mother making do; the car, driving many miles for so many reasons; the house, stuffed with way too much; and the head of a young woman wondering if her soft hands bring honor upon her family.
To write this way about these topics requires perspective, about who has what and why and how. But it also demands bravery — to go where most people don’t, including a lot of adults.
“Their hands symbolized their love and sacrifice for family. But my unblemished hands signified nothing in return, only evidence of wasting away their hard work.”
New York — Bronx High School of Science
Mom always told me that if my hands were smooth and unblemished nobody would be able to tell my age.
She wore rings and gloves to cover up the premature wrinkles from her time as a waitress in high school and the scars on her fingers from her first four years in America as a seamstress.
Try as she might, no amount of jewelry or hand cream could erase those markings. But I envied her imperfections: Mom’s weathered hands spoke volumes about her strength, selflessness and love.
Whenever my family gathered at the dinner table, I would steal glances at their hands. Each wrinkle and scar read like a chapter of a life well lived: a life full of purpose. When I looked at my smooth knuckles and babylike palms, I wondered when I would receive markings that told my story.
When Dad squeezed my hand as we crossed the street, I tried to place the sharp ridges and rock-hard calluses that dug into my soft skin. Did they come from summers in Montenegro, gripping the worn handle of the scythe to cut hay? Were they caused by heavy tiles nicking his palms during the kitchen renovations that paid for my babysitters?
During summers in Pljevlja in Montenegro, I would watch Grandma’s trembling hands as she kneaded each piece of burek. What initially seemed like splotches of flour were actually burn scars from 70 years of cooking. Perhaps they came from adding one too many coals to the furnace or accidentally lifting pots out of the oven with her bare hands.
Their hands symbolized their love and sacrifice for family. But my unblemished hands signified nothing in return, only evidence of wasting away their hard work. So I tried to gain markings the only way I knew how: mimicking my family’s defining actions.
I attempted Grandma’s burek, but my imitation’s flaky shell hardened each time I took it out of the oven. And my burns never felt purposeful, only documentation of my mediocrity.
I tried picking up a needle and thread like Mom. But even as my hands took the shape of hers, the needle pricks left me unsatisfied — it never came naturally like for Mom.
My hands began to read like a list of failed ventures — until I found volleyball. Volleyball seemed like a forbidden interest, so independent from family. But each purposeful movement left me satiated with fulfillment. I picked up the game quickly, and my parents were thrilled: Recruitment was my ticket into a top university. I even fractured my thumb while diving for the ball, the bone awkwardly jutting out as my own personal talisman of greater purpose.
But during high school, I was exposed to a plethora of other opportunities. I began spending Monday nights practicing cases for Mock Trial and dedicated weekends to taking photographs for my school’s Dynamo literary magazine. And though my hands remained unchanged, these passions, along with others, showed me sides of my identity that I didn’t know existed.
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But with little time left for volleyball, I came to the decision to leave my club team. My crooked thumb became an ominous reminder of another failed pursuit.
My parents were furious. They perceived my new activities as unfocused distractions, leading me away from my ticket to college.
I soon understood that my parents’ anger did not stem from disappointment, but from unfamiliarity. Their only path forward was committing to their available roles, never pondering the existential questions I did: self-discovery in a sea of options.
Becoming “lost” for pursuing seemingly unconnected interests was not what they envisioned for me, but I realized that the best way to fully take advantage of my privileges was to explore all my curiosities. I stopped emulating the identities of my family and realized that my hands would eventually bear the weight of my pursuits.
More importantly, those markings and hands will be my own, not my mother’s or father’s.
“Travel costs may prove too great a financial strain for my parents, but my world map and ingenuity are free.”
Los Angeles — Van Nuys High School
The room was stuffy, cramped and packed with teenagers. I was about to embark on a new adventure — my first job. I made sure I brought everything listed on the required materials list: Social Security card, passport, student ID, work permit.
As I waited for the human resources personnel to call my name, I gingerly opened my passport. A glance at the photo taken when I was 12 brought a big smile to my face: Chubby cheeks. Bowl cut hair. Forced smile. My jolly mood quickly faded when I read the expiration date: 03 Jan 2022. As I flipped through, each page was blank. My heart felt empty.
I tried to shake off the sadness dominating my thoughts. I should not have been bothered by my empty passport or its pending expiration date. But I was. It was a painful reminder that I had never left the country, not once in my entire life.
I remained quiet even as my mom repeatedly asked how my job orientation went. My replies were a mere yes or no. But when we got home, I held up my passport and finally dared to ask her. She looked at me and responded: “I’m sorry, but we can’t afford it. Airfares alone for a family of five would cost an arm and a leg.” Her quavering voice said it all. I walked away, empty. My passport was for “just in case,” not “when.”
When I spend time with Grandma, I am greeted by her cabinet full of cherished souvenirs. Some mark her 90 years on earth, others Grandpa’s travels as a merchant marine. Admiring the elephant tusk from India, brass plates from Morocco and hand-carved Last Supper wall hanging from Italy, I often wondered what it was like to travel the world just like Grandpa did.
Today, I catch myself looking back at those visits at Grandma’s and realizing I don’t need to leave my beloved city — Los Angeles — to experience the world. I satisfy my wanderlust by feasting on hearty, delicious global cuisines here in my neighborhood. Couscous from Morocco. Vindaloo from India. Gelato from Italy. Each is a small marker of my city’s diverse population and the perspectives and experiences surrounding me.
The first and last thing I see from my bed is my vast world map from Ikea, occupying almost an entire wall. This map has been my constant travel companion since I was little. Beginning with Dad’s stories about his business travels early in his career, this map has taken me to the countries he toured and locals he befriended from Belgium to South Korea to Indonesia.
Through Google Earth’s lens, I’m able to transport myself to any far-flung places without leaving the comfort of my bedroom. I have explored the Philippines, where my mother was born and raised. Her accounts of her upbringing fascinated me growing up, the tropical climate a drastic change from L.A.’s dry, sunny summers. When I showed her the schools she attended, the church where she and her family worshiped every Sunday, and the empty land where her house once stood, she was delighted. I was, too.
I don’t need to set foot in an airport to know every country, city and capital in the world. The knowledge I amassed, from the map in my bedroom to virtual tours, has taught me that not traveling outside my birth country will not define who I am. I pull what I can from my surroundings, whether wandering my neighborhood or following the virtual tour of the Louvre’s Petite Galerie exhibition of founding myths. And there are dozens of UNESCO sites still to see.
I am a globe-trotter. Travel costs may prove too great a financial strain for my parents, but my world map and ingenuity are free. So while my passport pages are empty, my limitless adventures are being vividly stamped in my mind forever.
Mimosa Hứa Mỹ Văn
“My treasure was occupying my time and mind. Overflowing piles, boxes and chaos tornadoed around me.”
Tucson, Ariz. — Flowing Wells High School
I was 6 years old.
Waltzing into my room, I had no room to dance. Looking at the floor, I would not be able to convince anyone it is hardwood. Clothes with price tags and unopened toys covered every inch of the ground. Mountains of freebies from convention centers engulfed me every time I entered the room. It was chaos.
Each day, these mountains became mountain ranges. As time passed by, I thought this accumulation would make me better. More items, more wealth and more friends. Having more meant a better life, right?
I waved to my dad at the screen door while I was yawning in jammies that were made authentically from Vietnam. He hopped into the only car to drive eight miles south to sharpen blades for lawn mowers as my mom cared for me, my brother and the house.
And every morning, my mom dropped me off at school on the next fastest transportation: the only electric scooter. Other days, my dad would pick me up and head to the doctor’s as the English-speaking parent before dozing off until his next shift. I cherished my parents’ efforts and actions for me.
When I was 10, my dad was heading into his mid-60s, and he retired. The income cash flow was dripping as my mom joined the work force and slowly gained clients. We celebrated every time a letter came in with government assistance.
We savored all the stuff. Every item made us the richest people on earth. My mom told me stories about when she was younger in Vietnam. She never had new clothes or gifts. She always got hand-me-downs.
I treasured and kept every item as sacred as a pirate’s gold. I felt like I won the lottery by having all this stuff.
Because I knew the most English, I researched Americanized things and how-tos for my parents. With a disastrous house at bay, my mom suggested to me to research how to get a cleaner house. I typed it into the Google search bar, expecting nothing helpful. I went down the rabbit hole, weaving from grease, storage containers, organization and more.
And then, I found this foreign word, minimalism.
Simplifying the number of items in possession to have a tidier home can make people happier. What were these jabberwocky words arranged in this order doing here? Can this end my chaos?
But, I thought more meant better. My treasure was occupying my time and mind. Overflowing piles, boxes and chaos tornadoed around me.
What about the social pressure? What would all my friends think if I didn’t have a lot of things? Would they think I was poor, poorer than I already am? Or worse, could I lose everything in life?
You know what? Let’s just do it. The chaos needs to end.
I slowly start to sort piles and load the car trunk. A part of me vanished at first. As days went by, I felt a weight of possession leave my chest and free me from all of the strings from each item tying me down.
Now, I zoom from assisting my mom with dishes to checking out TED Talks and self-love Instagram reels to working on my random urge to do pottery. The void has been filled with experience, knowledge and gratefulness.
My hands dance as I attempt to take in every single word that emerges from my wandering thoughts. I observe my sleeping plateau and two work space plateaus with a small stack of notebooks and feel content. “I appreciate myself,” I scribbled with one of my five — and only five — writing utensils.
I don’t need to rely on items, wealth and friends to be content. Others’ opinions of my display of wealth are not necessary to me. Without these items gluing me down, I easily settle from place to place. The internet was right. I can experience life now, for new challenges, opportunities and experiences.
“The miles that I drive, and others that I walk, are a small part of what makes it possible for our family to function, even thrive.”
New Windsor, Md. — Delone Catholic High School
Digits. Miles on the odometer, time on a clock. Neon clock face — 4:00 on a Tuesday morning. Driving 25 quick miles to swim practice, then 45 long ones to school. A rushed 11 miles to work. Finally, 9:30 p.m. Shift over — 13 miles home.
Total: 94 miles in 17.5 hours. A typical Tuesday bleeds into a typical week, adding up to a total of over 600 miles. Nearly three hours each day before I add in school, work, swimming and commitments as a brother, as a son.
These miles are unavoidable. Living in a rural farming community, you soon realize that everything is far away.
Being the oldest of five children, a perch I share with my twin sister, I know what my parents have sacrificed to provide a loving and stable life for us. My dad gets up early every morning — working weekends and missing vacations to provide for our family. My mom gave up her career to raise my four siblings and me.
Their sacrifices have formed the foundation of who I am. The miles that I drive, and others that I walk, are a small part of what makes it possible for our family to function, even thrive.
The longer drives lull me into thinking. Goals and ambitions — for tomorrow or 10 years from now.
I often think about what I have and the people around me who have sacrificed to get me where I am today. Sacrifice isn’t giving up or missing out on something. It is making the hard choices that will lead a person to become extraordinary.
Today, my choices are laying the foundation for something extraordinary of my own, shaping me into my future self. My foundation is supported by cornerstones — a big, loving, supportive family; work with meaning; financial independence; self-direction.
At age 2, I received my first wheelbarrow. It was small, tot-sized, but I used it to help with yardwork. Today, I spend weekends planting and maintaining the gardens — a sacrifice of time and a strain on my body.
Beginning with seeds in the greenhouse and continuing through harvest, I enjoy watching the produce grow and reaping the bounty of my work. These gardens provide us with much food. My wheelbarrow is full-sized now, just like the role I play in helping sustain my family.
The miles I walk pushing a wheelbarrow offer one type of support. Those I drive to and from my job as a restaurant dishwasher provide another 20 to 25 hours a week I scrub and rinse, pacing myself to stay ahead of the front of the house.
These hours demand a different type of sacrifice, but offer the promise of financial independence, my ability to save and even invest. I crave stability and dream of a future I can provide for myself. I want to help pay for college, buy a home on the water, maybe even have a boat.
But the miles I drive to swim practice feel different. These are just for me.
Setting goals and working to achieve them empowers me. After an early alarm and my daily decision to sacrifice sleep and free time, the tough morning workouts motivate me to push through obstacles. I can carry these lessons through college, my future career, my personal life.
These miles, hundreds walked and thousands driven, take me to and from the century-old farmhouse we call home. We have expanded it several times to house the seven of us, each new cornerstone marking the sacrifices made to get to that point.
Soon, I will expand my foundation, adding cornerstones uniquely mine to the ones I share with my family. This expansion will be in stages — college, a job, a family of my own — but I know how I will mark them. Miles walked, miles driven, sacrifices made. And I know that with each one, I am building something extraordinary.
“The duty of our generation is to ensure the next generation has it a little easier.”
Charlotte, N.C. — Olympic High School
Pieces of me live in my kitchen.
An art easel stands sentry nearby with stained paintbrushes and repurposed mugs. The curtains are drawn back, revealing clouds ambling against a sun-streaked sky.
Cherry-red and mint green boxes of tea sit in the cupboards above the sink — Earl Grey, peppermint, jasmine. Peaches sprawl across the counter, next to honeycombs I would suck on during long, oppressive summers. Very Monet, don’t you think? Beautiful, sweet, impressionist.
Yet if you peer beyond the bowl of bananas and crooning stereo, you would find a drawer of flatware. Rusting. Brown. Cheap. I didn’t know I was poor until I noticed the flatware. You can beautify the ugly in all sorts of ways, paint and plaster over all the cracks and holes. But the truth will stick like tar.
It was the autumn of 2019, and my mother was hunched in the kitchen, beaming and bright. “Look,” she beckoned. She handed me a fork and spoon: so shiny I could see my reflection, heavy in my hand and cold to the touch. There were two more pairs on the counter. She had replaced the entire drawer.
“Three hundred dollars,” Mama said proudly. “Two graveyard shifts.”
My mother works two jobs. I save coupons for back-to-school shopping. Why did I take so long to notice? Maybe I wanted to see myself as something other than a stereotype. Another brown body who lives under the umbrella term of low-income, first-generation. Maybe my mother was embarrassed to be another brown body who couldn’t afford a good cutlery set without 20 extra hours.
But I never had to think about it, because she kept the kitchen picturesque, and I never mentioned the bags underneath her eyes. It was some dark, dirty secret we clutched to our chest, kept away from prying eyes. No one should know (not even us).
“Poor” has always been a tainted word, like “homeless” or “beggar.” The generous donate, the indifferent ignore, the unkind scoff, but there is a quiet murmur, an intrusive “this is your fault” inside all of us. That’s why we say “escape poverty” like it’s some monster under our bed, not a symptom of a monstrous society. We are all eager to escape, and when we do, we do not look back.
I have always had a deep longing for more. I was named Jaylen after a basketball player, but I tell people I was named after the blue jay. Inside me, a small bird, like my namesake, was desperately trying to fly. I wanted to leave, because I was ashamed, and by wanting more for myself, I forgot to want more for everyone else.
But standing there, I saw my mother for the first time. I saw the pride in her purchase, her sunken face, how her hands shook and her hair grayed. She worked every day, so I could one day rest. She never kicked up her feet and enjoyed honeycombs on a Saturday afternoon. She loved my future enough to forsake her present.
Each of us has that small bird inside of us, but birds fly in flocks (and together, cages aren’t really cages). The duty of our generation is to ensure the next generation has it a little easier. There is no shame in that weight. There is pride.
We plant seeds so that our daughters and sons can enjoy the flowers. We add semicolons so that our children continue our story.
I work, no longer to escape my community, but to transform it. I distributed hundreds of letters that I and my classmates had written to nursing home residents who were in quarantine during the holidays. I taught computer science and business classes to underprivileged students. I helped underclassmen transition to the turbulent ocean that is high school. I paint murals, drink tea and take birds with broken wings to animal hospitals.
The other day, I bought my mother another set of cutlery that I hope to give her soon. I can finally say I learned how to fly.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR SCHOOL EXAM ASSESSMENT OBJECTIVES
…because better grades create opportunities for life.
Undertaking exams from home can be a daunting experience. Making sure that your child is on target to achieve his or her life goals is an overwhelming responsibility, and without the support of a school many parents feel confused as to how they can measure their child’s progress. Read More
Exam grades are not everything but they do matter. They matter because they reflect the effort put in by staff and they matter too because even the slightest improvement can give each child a brighter future. At MMP we help secondary schools in several ways. Read More
OVERSEAS AND INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS
Mark My Papers caters for all schools worldwide who follow the British curriculum at GCSE, iGCSE, A’Level and the International Baccalaureate. Read More
Primary education is important at Mark My Papers. We are aware of the pressures that teachers face and we help to reduce that pressure by shouldering the burden of marking. Thus, we give teachers time to teach. Read More
PUPILS AND STUDENTS DIRECT
If you are at school and studying towards your GCSE, IGCSE, IB, AS or A Level exams you may feel you need extra support, Mark My Papers can help. Read More
PRIVATE TUTORS AND TUTOR GROUPS
Mark My Papers is a popular choice for private tutors and tutor groups who wish to delegate exam style marking. Read More
MATURE STUDENTS & ADULT LEARNERS
Where students work as an individual, following a specification without professional support, MMP brings much needed guidance. Read More
If you are passionate about trying to improve student grades we would like to hear from you. Read More
Going to University?
Applying to university as a home-educated student certainly has its challenges. Read More
Corporate and HR Services
We work with course providers, employers and students, offering assessment support. Read More
OUR BOARD OF ADVISORS
In order to continually meet the developing needs of schools, students and home educating pupils, MMP has brought together a team of expert advisors, all of whom play a role in offering a vast, collective experience of primary, secondary, state, independent and international education.
- Two of our advisors are Ofsted Inspectors
- Two have served Headships at leading international schools in Europe and the Middle East.
- Two have transformed their schools from under special measures to Outstanding Ofsted reports.
- Two have served as Heads at three leading British public schools.
DR HELEN WRIGHT MA(OXON), EDD, PGCE
Jonathan Hughes -D’Aeth BA (Hons), PGCE
Paul Topping MA (Ed)
Helen Davies MA Ed, B Ed (Hons)
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Home education – the dangers of opting for the easy way out.
Emma White writes about recent changes in attitudes to home education which are a very real worry. It has struck me recently that there has been a bit of a change in home-education since the lock down. Covid served as a catalyst for many parents to continue with the pandemic induced shift to home schooling
Heinous Hacks – the plethora of problems caused by the formulaic teaching of GCSE English.
Ofqual are eager to see GCSE exam grades return to pre-pandemic levels. In the wake of CAG-TAG self-administered grade inflation (2020-2021) some schools have been determined to justify their often over generous marking. A member of the MMP English Language team who has been a Senior Examiner with AQA for over 20 years talks of
On behalf of the team at MMP, sincere congratulations to Ernie Visick for his superb A’ Level results. Educated at home since Year 5, Ernie has worked with immense determination throughout the Pandemic, putting his time to great use to ensure he was ‘match-fit’ for his public exams this summer. An offer from Pembroke College,
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The early bird……gets the Grade!
Facing up to exams early makes all the difference It’s a busy time for us right now at Mark My Papers. With CAIE exams underway and the main GCSEs and A levels starting next week, we have been busy supporting home educators, direct students and schools in the run up to their exams. Every year
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Mark My Papers is a popular choice for private tutors and tutor groups who wish to delegate exam style marking. Read More · MATURE STUDENTS & ADULT LEARNERS.