November 18, 2009

Red pen, hot tea, and slabs of chocolate

For the last three days, I’ve done nothing but read student portfolios.

Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration. I did other things. I drank some tea. I ate some meals. I took a shower.

I stepped outside to look at the meteor showers. I went to some meetings. I taught some classes. I saw my husband in passing. I drove my youngest son to school.

But mostly, I’ve been focused on getting through the portfolios. I wanted to give them back to students in class tomorrow so they would still have time to make an appointment with me before Thanksgiving if they had questions about their grade. I want to be able to enjoy Thanksgiving break next week with a clear conscience, with no backlog of student papers.

My students are smart and creative – and they’re pretty good writers. I’ve read all kinds of papers in the last 72 hours, mostly focused on environmental issues. I’ve read about wind turbines and photovoltaic cells and biodiesel fuel. They’ve been proposing solutions, ways to save the earth.

Spending every waking minute immersed in student papers leaves me feeling dazed, overwhelmed, and oddly hopeful.


Rana said...

I think I need to come up with better assignments. "Hopeful" is not the usual emotion I feel after reading my students' work, even when it's good.

(I don't think it's the students' fault - it's that the assignments are relentlessly practical, and there's little room for creativity in most of them.)

Digger said...

Oooh, I missed the meteors :(

Lorianne said...

I *just* finished a batch of essay drafts I'm handing back today, then I'll collect another batch this afternoon, which means I'll be reading essays over Thanksgiving. But it always feels good to hand *some* essays back even if you have more coming in: it's the progress that's encouraging.

Lorianne said...

PS: I also (over-)rely upon chocolate as a grading motivator, and I've re-discovered the pleasure of grading papers in bed.

I don't use a red pen, though.

jo(e) said...

I don't actually use a red pen either. The red pen in the title is metaphorical.

But now I'm thinking "The pleasure of grading papers in bed" could be an even better title for a blog post.

YourFireAnt said...

Don't give her anymore distractions! Sending her to bed will be the end of grading, you can bet. She's got to get the grading done so she can have lunch with me and discuss her BOOK (in progress).

The Nag

Lomagirl said...

You almost make we want to grade that pile on my desk. Well, I've started it. I took it home. It just didn't make it out of my bag. I get distressed reading their papers. They have so far to go to even be coherent. I think you've gotten the secret to interesting reading though- ignite their passion.

Lorianne said...

Grading papers in bed isn't as distracting as I thought it would be, the "bed" part being the little reward that gets me to do it. I read five papers at a time, then I can get up to walk around, stretch, and eat chocolate. :-)

I am fully expecting you to write a future post called "The pleasure of grading papers in bed."

Seeking Solace said...

For me it's red pen, whiskey and a shot glass!

Silver Creek Mom said...

The pleasures of grading papers in bed Naked works for me.

LOL! another Naked Photo shoot.

UNlike I have been speniding all my time Writing Papers in steady of grading, do you think I will get a better mark if I gave my Prof some Chocolate to eat while she grades mine?

Jackie said...

I *really* want to go into Thanksgiving with no grading backlog, but am starting to despair. I have a stack of quizzes, short stories, and essays to grade, and have made absolutely no progress today.It's hard to feel motivated when I am also feeling so in need of recharging, but will the recharging be possible if I still feel so behind?