Friday, November 20, 2015

That Time of the Semester Thou Mayst See

It's that time.  We're all stressed and it shows.

I spent Tuesday grading like a madwoman, and that made my whole week better.  I could spend Tuesday grading like a madwoman because I graded last week tons, and entered the weekend with no grading, so I got to read and prep well, and that meant I was rested and could grade like a madwoman on Tuesday.  I feel like I can breathe again, and for this weekend, I only have a stack on paragraph assignments, which I think I'm going to try to do before I leave campus.

I have two big grading stacks for Shakespeare, two big grading stacks for Intro, and two big grading stacks for writing, and then the semester's done.

I have one thing to grade now, one of those revision things that I stupidly let a student do. 

I'm at the point of the semester when I'm so tired of being the softie that lets students revise crap to be less crap.  But I often am that softie.  (I try to be that softie equitably, of course.)

I have an assignment due on Wednesday in Intro to Lit, a short paper.  Of course, many students want to leave early, so they plan to turn it in on Monday.  That's fine, except some of them also want me to make extra time to see them at their convenience today, and I've run out of time.  (I saw one student at 8am, offered another an 8:30 appointment, but never heard from the potential 8:30 person.  I have three hours of class, an hour for lunch and prep between classes, and then a meeting this afternoon that will last as long as it needs to last.)

The student I met with this morning has worked very hard on their paper, and it's okay as a paper.  But the writing is just not great at the sentence level.  They aren't bad sentences per se, they aren't grammatically horrible.  But they just sit there, all doing basically the same sort of thing, not really achieving any depth or nuance.  I think it's a developmental thing; this student isn't quite intellectually ready to make sentences with depth and nuance.  The problem is, I don't know how to get this student to the point of depth and nuance, or even really how to help the student see what depth and nuance look like so they can aspire to those qualities.

That means grading it, well, right now, it's pretty much in B land.  How do I explain why it's B land and not A land, when the student has worked very hard with me on more than one occasion, and I've said encouraging things (because they're improving the paper each time).

Here's a random question.  We have class on Wednesday, though many students leave earlier in the week.  I know some schools have no class on Wednesday.  I think if we did that, our students would leave on this Friday and not come back until after Thanksgiving.  That would be fine by me on one level, if we all got that week, but if I'm expected to teach, and half the students are there, then what to do when the other half want to be taught that same stuff again (in our age of "customerizing" students)?

And a random point.  I had a massage earlier this week.  It hurt so good. 

1 comment:

  1. Re the Wednesday problem. I feel you. We finally gave our students that Wednesday off, and I schedule things on the Monday; but most of our students live in-state, and in the city, in fact, so they're not traveling.

    Previous to the university cancelling Wednesday, I did things like showing movies this week, so that students could watch the rest of the movie on their own; or doing extra credit assignments (like, you got extra credit if you came to class on Wednesday).

    But yeah, it's a problem.