I spent the day grading essays, comics, and reflections. I am coming to realize that grading is more about my response to my students’ writing and creating of texts than it is about sorting the students into some predetermined category of A, B, C, D, or F. Does that make it anymore enjoyable? No. I still feel like I don’t get enough time to work with my students one on one in order to explain the remarks I put on their papers. I still feel like I am, with one letter, telling my students where they fit in the academic food chain. Even though I know that grading is about molding their writing writing into acceptable forms and structures, I feel like I spend more time considering whether or not I am meeting the grading criteria set forth by the rubric. I can be organic and work with them to revise and edit their papers, but at the end of the day their success comes down to one letter on a sheet of paper. I know I must give the grades, because I know my place in the food chain as well. However, I cannot grade without hearing my brother’s high school guidance counselor telling him that he wasn’t college material. I can hear that voice telling my brother, who now has a master’s degree, to give up on his dreams. I don’t want to be that voice, but I also don’t want to be the professor who passes people who have no business going on, who can’t write well enough to pass their other classes. It’s hard to balance ethical grading with my sort of hippie desire to see everyone succeed.
Here’s a link to an article by Mike Rose that sort of highlights part of my struggle and one of his books, The Mind at Work.
Exercise: walked the dogs 1.4 miles, rode the bike to Burris to 505 to RB to home (I was supposed to run, but had to grade.)
Food: banana, juice, almonds, swiss cheese sandwich, milk, tea, apple, two pieces of veggie pizza, four breadsticks with nacho cheese