by Carl Dyke

I’ve figured out, again, that if I want to get any serious work done I have to get away from my distractions. So for the last few days I’ve been taking up tipspace for as long as I thought polite at a series of restaurants and coffee shops, buying just enough to rent the table and overtipping like mad, bringing down the atmosphere of leisure no doubt with my gradebook, big piles of papers and journals, and the occasional anguished cry.

Actually the papers have not been half bad overall. I finally figured out that I need to teach what I want them to know and do, so I’ve got my teaching and assessing aligned (I ‘teach to the test’). It’s sort of amazing to me how long I got by with a reputation as a good teacher without doing that. Anyway, the papers are much better when I’ve taught them how to read, think and write in the ways one must to write a good paper. ‘What gives’ is content coverage. It’s amazing too how little I care about that if by the end of the class they can develop a coherent, well-supported thought about something in particular relevant to the course for 5-8 pages.

3 Responses to “Grading”

  1. Can you say more about the “occasional anguished cry” part of the routine?

  2. Sometimes those are when I slob mustard onto a paper, but more likely they’re extracted from me by essays that find a unique and terrifying way to be almost right yet totally wrong. You know, where you’re reading along, yes – yes – yes – AAAARRRGH! Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.


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