Sunday, October 20, 2013

I hate grading

I love to teach. I love to interact with students. I love their ideas and energy and idealism. I love to see their faces light up when they suddenly understand something. I love to share my joy of literature and good writing with them.

I hate grading.

As a teacher, I have to grade. I have to be able to mark something on that report card. I have to give the students feedback that they can value or can understand, and grades are what our society has foisted on them.

Oh, I don't mind reading and correcting papers, making suggestions, helping the students to improve their writing or increase the depth of their understanding.

But putting a letter or number on an assignment is hard. I see the looks on their faces when they get a poor grade for something they really did try to do well. The pain. The defeat. The failure.

Part of it is my own personality. I like to make people happy. Intellectually I know it's all part of my codependent background (yech, psychology).

But I also genuinely like my students and I feel bad when they feel bad.

I try different strategies. I grade differently. I try to emphasize what is good in their work. I try to limit the negatives I point out.

But there are still grades that need to be assigned.

If I had the time and energy to sit down one-on-one with them and go through their work helping them, I'd love it. But with 109 students it can't be done.

So what this means is that on a Sunday morning (I went to Mass last night) I have some 44 student essays I want to avoid.

Essays waiting for grades.

And I've finished this blog post, so I need to get to those essays.

I hate grading.

Pax et bonum

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