It’s that time again… grading.
When I started teaching I was soo excited to grade. I love editing (I still offer to peer edit friends’ papers just because I like it so much… but I am a terrible self-editor, go figure). Since I love editing so much I thought that I would love grading as much. But reading 50+ papers and 50+ handwritten essay based exams hurts my brain. After my first semester teaching with only a handful of students I was already tired of grading. I need a teaching assistant assistant. I love teaching and leading section, it’s this part that makes me cringe.
I have to spread my grading out over several days even though I could easily do it in one or two. The problem is how grumpy I get reading the same answers over and over again, the same mistakes over and over again. Even the best students’ perfect answers over and over again results in frustration. I know this would eventually affect the grades… so I take breaks, long ones. Then I get upset that I’m wasting time with a break… it’s an endless cycle for me.
But its worth it. About a year and a half ago, one of my community college students left me a note with his final thanking me for the class. It really made a huge difference for me, like I was doing something right, something important. This past Monday one of my students wrote me a letter, again thanking me. But he also told me some of his own life story. He has been doing very well in the class, so I knew that this wasn’t some sympathy ploy. He has lived through a lot – and here he was taking his classes and doing well. It made all the grading I had ahead of seem like a luxury.