Tuesday, December 7, 2010

4 Ways Grading Makes Me Feel Evil

This Friday, I will administer my first full scale exam to the students at my university class. We've covered five sections of International Relations, including measuring national power, human rights issues around the world, and the merits of global security.

When the exam is done, I will see just how much of the debate between communitarianism and individualism sunk in, or whether or not anyone truly read the section on weaknesses in the UN Peacekeeping Force. (Darling readers, can YOU tell me three things that are wrong with international security protocols as exemplified by UN Peacekeepers?)

And as I grade, I will start to feel like the Wicked Witch of the West(ern Hemisphere).
  1. Grading exams makes you doubt the intelligence of humanity. This has been true of every class I've ever taught. Like the kid in my Saturday class who would have passed had he not skipped three test sections, exams are full of little errors that will make the teacher crabby.

  2. Crabby teachers should not grade essay questions. My inner grammar girl jumps to the forefront, channeling my 4th grade teacher with her box where we could turn in our fellow student's grammar errors for more points. It's like my eyes open to see every last comma error and bit of awkward phrasing, to the point that I find it hard to focus on the actual test response. This makes it take a long time, and I get more crabby, and the essay pages start to drip with red ink and comments.

  3. Someone will ask me for a bit of extra "help". I will shoot them down. This will make me feel mean, even though it's only being fair to everyone not to give extra help, answers, or points to one student.

  4. I will hand out an F. At least one. Some will not care because they knew it was coming. Some will cry. Some will be in big trouble at home. In Ecuador, some will take the class again (and they charge you extra tuition your second time through, a nice incentive to study). Someone's life will be thrown off course, made more stressful, or flat out ruined because of my big, red F. I will feel bad about this.
Still, despite all the reasons that grading makes me feel evil, it's still what I will be doing with at least part of my Saturday. Nebraska doesn't play anymore football until the end of the month, so there will be no afternoon game to save me . . . or my students . . . from quality time with the red pen.


  1. Solution. Make sure that your students are aware to make sure they pay attention to grammar on the essays as they're college students and by now should know how to write properly. And don't feel bad about giving an F because again they're college students and by now they should know how to study if they want to pass the test. It's not your fault it's theirs.

  2. Aware is an interesting concept here in Ecuador . . . as in I'm not sure it really sinks in that yes, this all is going to be on the test! Many of the kids in my class come from money, too, which makes it sometimes hard for them to take personal responsibility for their actions.

  3. all the more reason for them to suffer the consequences of their actions. you have to learn sometime and you're just doing your job. common sense does apply and if they chose not to use it then again that's not your problem