Love to teach; Hate to grade

I just spent 2 intensely focused hours – after dinner, after cleaning up, after cooking my son’s school meals, after bathing and putting to bed the little one, after our evening prayer – grading 37 of one-page papers.  Yes, there were comments, some critical questions, and some smiley faces.  I really love teaching.  I love my students (most of them, on most days).  But really I do not enjoy grading papers very much.  I am a writing teacher, so how can I avoid reading and evaluating student papers?  I guess I can’t.

grading essays (image from flickr.com)

I’ve heard of teachers using some very creative ways to give feedback to students.  Some type their comments directly onto students’ electronic papers, some Podcast or even video-conference their comments, and others do face-to-face conferences instead of written comments.  Even as I hate having to grade so many papers in so short a time, I still think a comment on paper with overall comments is the best way to offer feedback.  Perhaps I’m just too afraid to try something new, but I do think that when done correctly, written comments can give students concrete “look” (literally on their physical papers) at their papers – I use arrows, highlights, and diagrams sometimes to make my point.  Of course, we don’t want to inundate students with too many comments or be vague in our comments – that’s the art of grading that I’m striving to achieve: How can I be efficient in my grading but also offer sufficient comments that are helpful and concrete?  Ah, that’s the million dollar question.

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