Friday, May 12, 2017

Crandall is on a Grading Rampage. It Happens Every Semester

I have high ambitions for myself, but then the day meets me like an Anvil finds Wile E. Coyote. Up at 7 - I got this - but then email blitzes, deadlines, and 'oops I forgot that dentist appointment' creep in and the goals suddenly get sidetracked.

I almost met them. I've been working on undergraduate philosophical statements for two weeks, but my other responsibilities keep demanding my attention. I thought, "Crandall, if you can get them done Thursday night, you'll be ready for the Graduate students on Friday."

I conked out at 10 p.m. - my brain wouldn't work any more and I knew I was only good for Words with Friends and a beer. There's a point each and every day when I know that my noggin will not cooperate anymore and that anything I read and write will be useless. As is, I know I will be hunkering down on a rainy weekend chiseling away at the curriculum responsibilities (read: assessment).

I always make myself feel good, however, when I compare the grading I have as a college professor with the grading I had as a high school teacher. There is no comparison: grading the work of 130 students is very different than grading the work of 40. Yes, in college they write more, but what is assesses is very different and, given the other responsibilities I'm required to do, I'm thankful it is only 40.

I think what I hate most about collegiate grading, however, is that the 15 weeks, limited time with students doesn't allow for the revision I loved to encourage as a high school educator. When I do final assessments, I am always thinking, "Wow! This kid would do a bang-up job if they only had one more round of editing." Sadly, final assessments come in and the kids move on with their lives.

The real learning, I believe, comes from the assessment and having time to go over the "what next" suggestions for their writing. I'm getting better at incorporating drafting in my courses, but not all the students take me up on this. Rather, if I assign something for midnight, they send it in at 11:59:59.

They have a lot on their do for the next few days I'll be banging my head against the wall thinking, "When will this end? What are we learning? Why are we always doing this?"

I know it is good, but I get numb after a while (and so do my fingers, my back, my neck, and my butt).

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