While I’ve some lovely plans over the weekend, someway, somehow, I have to cram a shit-ton of essay grading into the mix, and as I tell my students quite often (whenever one brings up how much he/she hates writing essays), I hate grading with a burning, seething passion. I hate it with every fiber of my “nitpicky” — word du jour students use to describe my grading practices — being. I once didn’t hate it so much, but that was back when student writing contained some worthwhile substance, and the general writing skills…well…existed.
Student writing now seems to consist of…
- …strong development and grammar, decent spelling, but no soul, no depth. (Often teens who are good test takers)
- …weak development, poor grammar, decent (basic) spelling, plenty of substance and soul. (Often ESOL learners &/or adult learners who simply don’t have time to read)
- …weak development, decent grammar, decent (basic) spelling, but no soul, no depth. (Often late teens-20somethings who just don’t care)
- …weak development having not understood the directions, awful grammar and spelling, incoherent to the point where I cannot figure out if student in question even has a soul (?????????)
- ...some sort of combination of a handful of the above.
What goes on in my head during the grading process has since become a variation of the Kubler-Ross model…
- DENIAL. By the twentieth paper, everything is just fine. No matter. All Will Be Better By Papers #21-30. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with what I’m reading and assessing, really. This is such a small sample. It doesn’t show me anything at all.
- ANGER. I hate all and everything about this, and I cannot believe that they didn’t listen to a goddamn word I said. I shall display my rage accordingly. They will feel my wrath.
3. BARGAINING. I could offer an additional assignment as extra credit, but only on the condition they do exactly as I say and follow my directions accordingly. They might just be able to prove their allegiance–I MEAN, they might be able to prove to me that they’ve learned something…anything…
4. DEPRESSION. It’s official. I am the world’s worst teacher. I want to cry into a bottle of Woodford bourbon laced with anthrax coupled with a side of despondency.
5. ACCEPTANCE. I am the world’s worst writing teacher, but it’s not entirely my fault because these students were short-changed to begin with. No one introduced them to books. No one introduced them to the written language. No one introduced them to much of anything. It’s okay though. I can get through this because I have a plan…
I have anti-anxiety medication and a rubric.
All is right with the world.