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24 April 2005



The semester is coming to an end, so I'm putting in some long hours grading. All of my physical paper grading is done until I collect research portfolios this week in class, and I want to get all of my online grading done this weekend so that I might have my birthday on Tuesday free. It's not going to happen, though. In fact, it's humanly impossible. My goal for today is to grade 35 papers. Ambitious, you say? Yes, but I have little choice. I've already graded for 4 hours today, with only a break for breakfast, and I've graded only 8 essays. I have 27 to go. If I meet my goal, which is unlikely, I still have 15 eight-page research drafts to grade. I'm planning on grading until 9pm when "Desperate Housewives" is on. I'm writing an abstract for a collection of articles on the show, so I think of this guilty indulgence as research. I am skipping yoga AGAIN today (that's 4 days in a row) in order to get in a full 12 hours of grading, which actually will be more like 10.5 after eating breakfast, lunch and dinner, yoga power breaks, bathroom breaks, writing this blog entry, etc. Raf is doing all of the cooking and dog walking during this time. She wants me to finish, too, because she hates when I freak out about it. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I LOVE teaching, but grading is not my favorite part of the job.

Online grading takes SO MUCH LONGER than physical paper grading because every time I need to make a comment, I have to change the text color to red, and every time I have to correct a grammatical or mechanical error, I have to use the formatting pallette to highlight and strike out the error, and then add the correct word or puncutation mark in red and highlight it. Fixing one comma splice takes 30 seconds versus the 2 seconds it takes to circle the evil comma with a pen and write CS.

Because I spend too much time thinking about these things, I've determined that the online to paper grading ration is 1 to 4. I can grade 4 paper essays in the time it takes me to grade 1 online essay of comparable length. Crazy, huh? Of course, it depends on the amount of errors a student has in his/her paper.

I tell you: online grading is bad for one's posture. I have to get up from the computer every 45 minute or so and do a little power yoga or my neck and shoulder muscles just freeze.

I'm tackling reflective essays right now. I asked the students to write metaphors about their writing styles (My writing is like a tiger because it is aggressive, strong and hungry or My writing is like childbirth: painful but worth it.). These are always enjoyable to read. Ok. Enough messing around.


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