Monday, September 15, 2014

Dear students, your papers are graded by evil geniuses

It's Sunday, which means I've been up since 6 grading, and I have about 6-7 more hours to go just to get ready for this week. Wonder if my students know...

  1. I'm secretly kind of glad when you don't turn something in, since that's something I don't have to grade.
  2. If I give you extra credit on something, it really doesn't matter in the end. I'll just make the next test harder.
  3. That page of careful, individual feedback that makes you feel so special is 85% stock comments I've been building up over the years that I copy and paste in. People always make the same mistakes when they're learning to do this stuff.
  4. I totally judge you by your grammar and spelling. Even if I say it doesn't count, it still affects how I receive your ideas, and thus, your grade.
  5. I can tell you the value of your work in about 90 seconds - maybe 2 minutes on a paper over 8 pages. Most of my grading time is spent justifying that to you in a way that you won't complain. Avoiding whining is a high priority.
  6. If you do a half-assed job, I take it personally.
  7. I order the papers by the pain they are likely to cause me. I know after the first two assignments who does work that ticks me off with its inanity, and I have to spread those throughout the stack so I don't take it out on the other students.
  8. If you do that thing where you fold the corners together instead of stapling your work, I resent you. You don't want me assigning grades when I resent you. You will pay, grasshopper.
  9. If, by some miracle, I let you turn something in late, I'm going to make you wait a long time to get your grade. I'm not going to go out of my way.
  10. I might take particularly inane things you write ("In our world today..." ) and share them with other proffies to make them laugh.

20 comments:

  1. Oh man, #8. I'm number 8ing all day today and am furious because of it.

    Welcome back CM people...I was so tickled to get the email. Love, live, vent, win!

    ReplyDelete
  2. #8. The lazy student's passive-aggressive way of flaunting hir laziness.

    I was so happy to get the email about this resurrection. I appreciated the attempt with AWC, but it just didn't feel like the old place. I missed the dusty old sofas that smell of cigarettes, bourbon, and whatever Cal heated up in the microwave for lunch.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You'd have to be crazzy to eat that shit Cal scrapes out of the microwave. It can work as a paste, though, if there are no STAPLES. (Twitch! Twitch!)

      Delete
  3. #3 for the win! I thought I was a slacker for doing this, but it's the only way to stay sane when you have a stack of thousands of pages of crap to grade.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. With you on #3. I can almost grade blindfolded.

      Delete
  4. When I was teaching drafting, I eventually figured out a way to make marking easier. I made my own drawings of an assignment and then made a transparency of it. I'd then lay it over the student's work and many mistakes became immediately apparent, saving me a lot of work.

    By the time I was finished, the drawings were covered with red ink, though much of it was in the form of comments and hints and I never penalized the students for that. Often, when they got their work back, I'd be asked on how many pens I used.

    I rarely got arguments from students. I spent a while checking drawings while I worked in industry, so I had a good idea of what they were supposed to do.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh, all of these are great! But #5 makes me particularly resentful for having to read an entire paper when I can tell its quality right off the bat, or "off the back" (as one student wrote; to fulfill #10 on your list) and then I'm stuck having to pay attention to a paper that is, at best, a C- or a D. I know this, and still have to read the crap. Thank you for the list!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Amen, especially on #s 1, 5, and 9. I need to work on #3. I've got some stuff boilerplated, but there's much, much more that I could do that way.

    ReplyDelete
  7. 3, 4, 5, 9. Oh, and most of the others.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Would you rather they be late to class because they have to find a stapler? Just curious, not debating #8, just wondering, since the computer lab where they print doesn't always have a stapler and students don't always notice that until seconds before they hand it in.

    No, I am not questioning knocking off a few points for lack of staples, just wondering if being late is better (sure, doing your work in a timely fashion rather than seconds before class is best of all, but planning ahead is not typical of college students).

    I just started teaching a 1-credit course, but I don't allow late submissions. I don't fail them on the late assignment, as much as I'd like to. I simply make them do another assignment, doubling the workload. That is the penalty for lateness - even more work. More work for me, too, but if I let one hand it in late, then they will all do so.

    Fortunately I do not give a shit if they do a half-assed job and told them so, only in a nicer way. I won't take it personally. If they want to trash their GPA and waste tuition and another two hours a week re-taking the course next semester because they failed it the first go-round, they're entitled to do so.

    As you can see I'm kind of a crappy teacher, I just got lassoed into teaching this course because they are short-staffed and I thought it'd earn me goodwill and maybe a raise. So if you intend to respond "you are doing everything wrong" - I know. Advice is welcome, though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's good not to take it personally. You'll survive longer. Don't punish yourself with more work when they mess up.

      Delete
    2. Just knock off serious points for late. No excuses, and 5 points = 1 day or 1 week or whatever your minimum time unit is. I do 10% per day for the first 2 days, then it's 25% per week or any portion thereof. That's probably too lenient, but that's what I do.

      This schedule results in anything more than 3 weeks late gets a zero.

      Delete
    3. Thanks for the helpful tips. I forgot to add: it's a pass/fail course, otherwise I'd take the easy way and just knock off points. It's kind of a bullshit course, actually, it's called something like "intro to college life" I say that it is "kind of" a bullshit course because it does teach them some useful skills about navigating our extremely vexing and wearisome administrative systems - learning to register, check grades, fill out forms to request entry in a closed course, etc. It is tiresome but not unlike the orientation that new employees receive upon being hired by a large organization. But the other part of the course, we're supposed to sit in a circle and talk about our feelings or some other crap at which I am terrible.

      Since all work is graded Pass/Fail, I can't knock off points for lateness. My options are to fail them on the one assignment if it is late - which would be fair, but then I have to deal with bullshit excuses - or to use the additional work as a detriment and punishment as well as a way to make it fair for those who did submit on time.

      Pass/Fail is easier though - no grading.

      Delete
  9. You can purchase a teeny stpler that fits easily in a backpack for under $2.
    Just sayin...

    ReplyDelete
  10. If they can afford a Macbook and a fancy phone, a small stapler is not beyond their means. It's very unprofessional to turn in an unstapled report. They need to be aware of that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good idea about the tiny stapler, I never thought of that. Yes, I did turn in papers with the "poor man's staple" - when I was an undergrad - folded corner, then small tear in that fold. No professor every commented on it, except one said,"I haven't seen that technique in years."

      Thank you, Faris and Andrew, tiny stapler is an excellent idea.

      Delete
  11. I purchased a stapler, tape dispenser, scissors and glue sticks, then set them up outside my office on a table. Little bastards stole everything.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Re #10, I've noticed that "In today's society" will more often than not be followed by a prounouncement that well exceeds the writer's authority.

    I got a trifecta the other day. "For all intensive purposes, my analysis was based off of a previous student's project in the same lab, but with additional statistics that allowed me to hone in on the significant differences between populations."

    ReplyDelete