Sunday, February 04, 2007

Practicing Patience

I've been grading poetry assignments like a mad Bardiac all weekend. There's a huge pile, and I grade in chunks of five. Then five more. Then five more. You get the idea.

I like the assignment. And most students do okay with it. If not for the large class, it wouldn't be an onerous assignment for grading. But it's a large class for what I do. (Okay, all the people with 200 person lectures can laugh at my numbers, but it's not like I can really use multiple guess meaningfully, and I don't have TAs or graders.)

I'm trying to get them all graded by tomorrow morning, which would pretty much be a record and would mean that I'd feel really positive about the beginning of the week and being prepared.

Friday afternoon, when I checked my email, there were a couple of late assignments. I detest late assignments. But I'd rather late than never, because never really messes students up, even at the beginning of the term.

And just now, when I checked my email, there's another, from a student who was (or says he was) sick.

It's all about me: I HATE that the diminishing pile has grown. I hate that there's yet another paper to grade, one I hadn't counted in the original count. It feels like I've been banging my head against a wall, and the wall just got harder or something.

Yeah, of course I know that the student didn't turn it in late to frustrate me. I'm totally willing to believe he's been sick. That knowledge SHOULD make me not frustrated. But I'm still frustrated.

It makes no sense, either. If the student had turned it in on time, it would have been in the original pile. It's not like the lateness has really added to the grading task. But I'm still frustrated. Deep breath, and back to grading.

Update: (Because reading my blog is just as exciting as watching cable news and getting the latest information about celebrity diets, divorces, and dopiness.)

I finished the on-time stack!

I think the assignments show that the students have gotten a basic understanding of the form and function of this type of poem. A couple of them really demonstrated that effectively in more than one way. So, maybe they've already learned something, and we've only finished the second week!

I'm not quite dancing around the house about being done, but I am in my head!


  1. That is annoying--however irrational it is, it is a disruption in the plan. Sometimes I say that if people turn things in late, they won't get them back on time, but then, it's a pain to be grading a paper or two out of the context of the rest of them.

    And I've never been good on the "I don't take things late" kind of stance, either, which is really the only way around it.

  2. You never read my discuss my policy for late assignments, have you? I don't comment on them. They get a grade and nothing else. Since I allow revision, it works really well. Students have to come to my of for comments. I love it because I get to write down a grade with no guilt or grade penalty but still make it clear that on time matters. It's worked great for me.

  3. Susan, I TRY so hard to be tough, but alas, I'm not.

    Nels, I usually encourage revision in my comp type classes, but this class is simply too big to read even one third of the set a second time.

  4. Ohh, I like Nels' idea of just a grade on the late stuff.

    I do tend to delay grading the late stuff, if only to send a message that I'll grade them on my time, not their's.