Monday, November 18, 2013

Day 18: November 18, 2013

Grading

I am beyond blessed.  I not only have found a vocation that I truly enjoy, but this year, I am only teaching my two favorite favorite classes:  Brit Lit and English Comp.  My schedule is a dream as I only teach Tuesdays and Thursdays, with the last class ending at 12:20pm.  All the students are delightful with not a single behavioral issue.  Some days I have to pinch myself to be sure that this is real.

While I enjoy teaching the literature side, and hearing the students analysis of classic works, my real passion is to teach writing.  And of all the writing I teach, I absolutely adore creative writing.  In this case I think the adage is true, in that, those who can't do... teach.  I am more an academic writer than a writer of fiction, but I LOVE engaging young minds to write out of their imaginations.  It is invigorating and inspiring to me.

But alas, as much as I love teaching writing - and as much as I love reading their creative masterpieces - I absolutely abhor grading them.  I feel such pressure and responsibility to quantify the final draft with a letter grade.  Writing is subjective - and as much as I try to be objective by using rubrics and such, it is impossible to be completely unbiased.  And so, I stress.

On this day I finished grading Brit Lit's Knightly Tales that they wrote in conjunction with reading Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.  We discussed the ten characteristics of a knight, which means that a true knight is not only a manly man wearing a suit of armor. In fact, it can be argued that Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz is a knight.  And students were asked to develop their own knight and write a story that involves a quest where their knight either succeeds, or dies trying.  It is amazing to me the creativity these students hold... and their willingness to share it, when encouraged.


1 comment:

  1. I dearly loved Sir Gawain when I read it. I think you will miss teaching, Molly, when you retire! But you're so right about grading. It's subjective, and even if you use a rubric, there's a feeling you get when you compare one person's paper against another's . . . I taught English 101 for several semesters, and it was a problem for me. I used to spend 30 minutes grading each paper. When I told the other T.A.'s, they looked at me with wide eyes, as if to say, "Really? You spend that much time on someone's paper?" Apparently they gave each one a read-through and scribbled a grade across the top.

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