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November 15, 2012


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I feel so much better reading this list! I'm teaching first year composition this semester and it's my first time in a classroom--I struggle with all of the above as well, but I chalked that up to new teacher nerves. I like the idea of thinking of this as foot-washing; hoping that sticks in my fruit-fly brain!

Okay, I like this a lot. Related musings have appeared in response on my blog.

I hear ya. I hate grading too. And a lot of it has to do with being a pleaser.

oh, this post is my life too!! Every single item, I mean, with slight variations, I'd love to come and comment in more detail on every one, but I need to drive home and... grade 100 tests and 30 compositions!!

P.S. We do foot-washing in our denomination before every communion (which happen several times a year, not every service). It is a bit weird, but very significant. A humble task with a lot of symbolism.

"I have impostor syndrome."

I know it well. I've actually called it the Imposter Complex since I first discovered I had it, back at the beginning of grad school, when I was convinced that they'd made a terrible mistake in admissions, and it was only a matter of time before everyone figured it out....

I now work in a great little school full of fantastic kids and brilliant colleagues, around whom I routinely feel like a bowl of soggy cereal. I have to remind myself that I actually DO know my field, and I actually AM a good teacher...and the truth is, I really love working with people who keep me on my toes, even if it means I don't relax much. ;-)

And I'm also a pleaser. On the rare occasions when I've had to grade a kid really severely, I've agonized and agonized. Our college office guy once turned to me in a faculty meeting after I said something about feeling sad about a grade I was giving a student, and he looked me very straight in the eye and said, "No. Not the grade you're giving him. The grade he earned."

"Right," I said. "Thank you."

I love my colleagues. =)

I know I've made a similar comment before but when I was an undergrad I really appreciated profs and TAs like you who took time with my work and gave me the grade I deserved. I had a lot more respect for the TA who gave me an A on my first paper (a 90% which was crazy good at my school for writing) and then gave me a well-deserved B- (or was it a C+?) on the next one. I never thanked them enough. Or at all. People are quicker to complain than to praise and I'm guilty of it, too. I bet you have students like me in classes you quietly appreciate your hard work.

Somehow I missed this and only found it today. I wish I could have found it a decade ago when I was teaching composition and facing stacks of dreaded grading. I wouldn't have felt so alone. I wonder if the foot washing analogy would have helped?

All your reasons resonate with me, but I'd have to add one more. I think for me the hardest thing about grading was that I really just wanted to give students critiques without the grades. I wanted to help them improve their writing, and I wanted them to want to improve the writing for its own sake and not for the sake of a better grade. For me a huge portion of the burden of grading was this internal wrangling about the very idea of assigning GRADES and the constant suspicion that all my attempts to be an objective grader were a shadowplay and that grading was always highly subjective and no matter what I did I was just giving better grades to the pieces I liked and worse grades to the ones I didn't like. I'm much happier in the role of editor or mentor than while wielding the red pen of doom.

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