Right now I'm blogging instead of grading, and I don't feel guilty...because, for once, all my grading is finished...done...gone...finito. And I feel like the weight of the world is lifted of my little anonymous shoulders because I'm not one of those teachers who can "aim at the next class period to give back exams and two weeks for feedback on papers" (Dr. Kirk). Let me take that back, I can aim all I want, but it's virtually pointless and simply makes me feel guilty when I don't.
Recently on Are We Doing Anything Today? there was a post about being inundated with grading. Now, I said earlier that I'm able to type guilt-free because I don't have any grading; however, that's only because I spent four hours yesterday finishing essays I'd had for nearly a month.
I really do try to get it back in a "timely fashion," but then I get caught up in planning and life...and grading falls to the wayside, despite the fact that I think feedback is one of the most important parts of the writing process, but teachers are people, not grading machines as some people seem to think.
Next semester will begin, I'll be on top of my grading for about a month....then all of a sudden, I'll look back, and my collection trays (what my students call the trays where I keep their homework) will be spilling over with essays...and I'll walk into class every day to a chorus of, "You don't have them graded yet?! Are we ever going to get them back?"
I gave my freshmen a writing assignment to test how well they'd picked up on the elements that made up an epic. I knew they could recite the characteristics of an epic to me, but I wanted them to show me that they'd learned what makes an epic by writing one of their own. While I'd hoped they'd do well on this assignment, they've demonstrated their lack of writing abilities before, so I was nervous.
But what I got back was excellent.
The kids not only followed the guidelines of the assignment, demonstrating they understand the concept of what makes an epic, but they were also so creative. I'm in Panera right now grading, and I'm enjoying reading their assignments. They are riddled with grammatical errors, but they're so creative and entertaining, I've adjusted my rubric to make grammar less important.
Yay, freshmen!! Way to make my grading time fun!