It involves judging the often unjudgable, brings out the worst in students, administrators and colleagues, drains the last vestiges of energy and enthusiasm we can dredge up at the end of the semester... the absolute worst thing, for me about grading, though, is the way it makes me doubt myself. Doubt all the preparation and work I put into the class, sure, but also it sends me scurrying back to my email and my notes -
- surely if all six of these students say a hamster is a kind of horse, there must be a reason for it - was there a mistake in my powerpoint, in the text book, on the assignment sheet?
- Johnny has used only gerbil studies references - did I really tell him not to when I gave feedback on his draft? Surely I did... but he's a good student
- three essays use references to von GoldHamster (2012) to argue that Goebbels-the-Grand-Gerbil-of-Geerbuuldorf banned exercise wheels in the 700s. I'm sure he actually made them compulsory, but now they've made me doubt my memory, and I need to check the reference again, just in case...
What's the one thing you hate most about grading?