Thursday, August 24, 2006

Starting Another Semester

Ninety-two students are enrolled in my classes for the fall semester. Just thinking of that number makes me incredibly tired because of the amount of essays that I’ll be grading. Probably the best thing about this time of the semester when my classes are just now underway, having been open and available since Sunday at midnight, is the relative peace before the influx of student essays. It’s possible to have a real life, that is, regular hours and sufficient amounts of sleep for these first few weeks.

I’m hoping to get most of my grading done during the day this semester. I’m also hoping to start the grading earlier because it has usually taken me a week before I can even begin to face the essays that I have to grade. Feelings of disappointment at the quality of the writing keep me from reading them with alacrity. It takes time to approach student essays with the ability to lend praise occasionally; the temptation when approaching them too soon is to identify the faulty mechanics and to find reasons for not giving them much attention, such as brevity, not fulfilling the assignment, plagiarism, and errors in documentation. Simply telling the student how awful his/her essay is is not teaching.