Playlist: You Have So Much Grading To Do

It’s getting to be that time of the year again! Specifically, it’s getting to be the end of the semester for many people who are in higher education. Finals are approaching! And if you’re a teacher of any kind, that means grading finals (and final papers, and final projects, and last-ditch extra credit assignments) is upon you. If you are a TA or graduate assistant, then congrats, you get to do that grading on top of your own finals!

At times like this, the only way to get through it is to get serious and be efficient. You can only spend X amount of time on each grade, and then you need to move on. So in the spirit of motivating you (and myself) to do this, here are some songs that are all the same amount of time, give or take a few seconds. The rules are that you have to grade one assignment per song, and then move on to the next one*. “But things take different amounts of time!” I hear you say. That’s why you have two playlists! One is for shorter assignments or for hardened grading veterans; the songs are about 5 minutes long. The other is for longer assignments or for people who need more time when considering grading issues; the songs are between 9 and 12 minutes long. Feel free to dip your toes in with the latter. “But these are only an hour and a half long!” you say. “I have way more grading than that to do!” Yes, I know, Negative Nancy. But it’s crazy to expect yourself to grade for hours and hours at a time, and also doesn’t really bode well for the quality of your grading. Grade through one iteration of the playlist, then take a walk or watch an episode of Once Upon A Time. Or do some of your own work, even. Then you can come back and get at it again.

Are we all clear? Good. Now get out your red (or purple, if you’re softhearted) pen and let’s get to grading, and also to figuring out why it’s so popular to make songs titled “Power” about five minutes long.

* I would also accept this playlist being used for answering emails, putting away laundry, or any other unpleasant and repetitive task you find yourself forced to do.

Grading Playlist: Short Assignments


Poetic Justice – Kendrick Lamar feat. Drake
All of the Lights – Kanye West
Together Again – Janet Jackson
Bamboo Banga – M.I.A.
Powa – Tune-Yards
What I Am – Edie Brickell & The New Bohemians
Izzo (HOVA) – Jay Z
Electric Lady – Janelle Monae feat. Solange
In A Perfect World – Flash Bang Grenada feat. Open Mike Eagle
Crazy On You – Heart
Power – Das Racist feat. Danny Brown and Despot
16 Military Wives – The Decemberists
Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) – Eurythmics
Clique – Big Sean feat. Kanye West and Jay Z
Dancing On My Own – Robyn

Grading Playlist – Short Assignments from Autostraddle on 8tracks Radio.

Grading Playlist: Longer Assignments


BaBopByeYa – Janelle Monae
Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst – Kendrick Lamar
Let’s Call It Love – Sleater-Kinney
(Take Back) The Revolution – The Gossip
Runaway – Kanye West feat. Pusha T
Next Messiah – Jenny Lewis
Blueprint (Momma Loves Me) – Jay Z
Bag Lady – Erykah Badu
Release Pt. 1, 2, and 3 – Blackalicious

Grading Playlist – Longer Assignments from Autostraddle on 8tracks Radio.

Want to suggest a playlist theme? Hit Stef up and someone on the team might make it for you.

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. This is the first November I’ve not been in school, so I’m going to co-opt the short papers playlist as a workout playlist. Izzo (Hova) will be the song I do twists and bicycle crunches to.

  2. Not looking forward to needing this playlist next week, aaarrrgghhhh first years are the worrrrrsssstttt

  3. Ooo that Bamboo Banga into Powa transition. I’ve not yet reached it but I know it’s going to be amazing.

  4. I would have a lot of grading to do. If my students would turn in their assignments on time. Ugggggggh.

  5. Btw I’ve been listening to this while I go through emails and it is very helpful. The first playlist is very upbeat which helps set a pace and got me in a groove.

  6. I checked out the longer assignments playlist (subbing in Melvins Lite for The Gossip) and found that it works great for piecing together grant proposals too. Thanks!

  7. Coming out of lurkdom specifically to give you props for including Kendrick Lamar on both playlists. It really speaks to the quality of GKMC that not only is it on so many “Best of 2013” lists despite having been released in October of 2012, but that as a result, Spotify went back and changed its year of release to 2013.

  8. This could not be more relevant to my interests!

    I also find that reading Autostraddle makes an excellent grading break…

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