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Just drinking a glass of red wine and trying to figure out what to do with myself now that my quarter is officially over. I just spent the last five days writing two ten page papers. The good news is my writing is getting faster. The bad news is I’m not sure faster is producing better quality. Both papers focused on themes I’m developing for my dissertation, so it wasn’t like I was creating them from scratch. I had been researching them for weeks. On the other hand, getting the actual writing done was left until the last week. I hate it when I procrastinate. I need to impress my professors with my insightful writing, not turn in stuff with typos or organizational problems.

Also, teaching, what’s up with that? I’m great at helping students with their work. That’s important, I feel good about it. On the other hand I suck at recording grades. I only had 40 or so students this quarter and yet I couldn’t keep track of all their paperwork. It’s true, they turned in a lab every week, so that’s a lot of paper, but still! I can’t believe how many time students have pointed out that I haven’t managed to get their grade into blackboard. One or two mistakes, ok, but this is getting close to double digits!

This brings me to my own academic ambitions. In my heart of hearts I would love to get a job at a SLAC (small liberal arts college) and yet, the idea of a job at a research U. where I would never having to do my own grading again is appealing. I need a research assistant to help me stay organized. In this economy I will be lucky to get any job, but a girl can dream!

Years ago I made a joke to some coworkers that I needed a wife. One of them was not amused by my comment. I was just saying that my husband was crap at keeping the house organized and I’m no good at that type of thing either. I would really value having someone around who could help me stay organized. If only I could afford to pay such a person well!

Related book:

Waring, Marilyn. Counting for Nothing: What Men Value and What Women are Worth. 2nd ed. University of Toronto Press, 1999.

Waring, a MP from New Zealand, outlines how the accounting systems of nations (like GNP) systematically discount the work of women.

Best quote: “when a man marries his housekeeper the GDP goes down.”

Also, as heard on NPR:

Rent-a-Negro

Need to show off your multicultural-ness? This is the website for you! Buy the book today!


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Almost any term, there is a day, a moment maybe, in which I lose the will to go on working. I think the moment has arrived. Beorn’s birth-daughter has been visiting all weekend, Saturday was a friend’s 50th birthday party, and the grading load has been ridiculous. Last Thursday I gave a mini-lecture in the class I’m TAing and then Friday a presentation to faculty on how I use technology in the classes I TA.

Most days I like being a TA. I usually like the professors I work with. Often though, I’m frustrated with instructors that don’t talk to their TAs about plans for the class or let us look over the assignment prompts before they hand them out.

I’m so tired of grading at this point it’s not funny. Yesterday I read 20+ essays. I should read another 20+ tonight. By Saturday night I need to grade another 50+ take-home essay exams. The grading load for this course has been insane. Bleck!

Bad news first:

I’m spending my weekend grading exams. These are essays, so each one takes a while.

Good news:

1. I found out this week that at least one of the PhD programs I applied to wants me. They said I was “on top of their list”, or something like that. They offered me three years of guaranteed teaching fellowships, which I think is the best they have to offer.

2. Pineapple guava jam is good. Beorn and I made some last winter and now I’m enjoying it on buttered toast.

Saturday I spent the morning at a local trade conference and the afternoon at a dissertation writing workshop. The writing workshop was actually very good and maybe I’ll blog some of the advice here later. But all this meant that I got no grading done and the papers need to be turned back by Tuesday. It’s really difficult to read 20 essays and think of original comments when they all have the same general problems. 20 more tomorrow and I’ll be done.

Why is grading so unpleasant? Do some people like grading? Does the fact that I find it so unpleasant mean that I’m not meant to be a professor? If the students were different in some way would it be more fun? If I were different would it be more fun?

Now I have to sleep.