Hilarious But True · Nature of Academia · Teaching Political Science

A Story of Grading… with Drinks

Scene: it’s the end of the semester. You have 85 final papers to grade from 2 classes. You know pedagogically why making students write a final paper is a good idea, but right now all you see is the torture you’ve given yourself and you’re wondering when you became a masochist. To help with your pain, you decide to open a bottle of wine.

Drink 1: Dear God, these kids can’t write. Some of them clearly have no grasp of basic grammar or spelling (“the affect of income on political beliefs”). Everyone gets a C-, if that.

Drink 2, because the first went really fast: Kids still can’t write, but you’re having a hard time forcing yourself to tell them so in the margins anymore. Only like 3 will come to your office to complain about a lack of feedback, right? Especially if you’re now giving everyone a B-.

Drink 3, because you’re grading so much faster now and will almost be done: it’s not SO bad if they switched the dependent and independent variables, right? And who knows, maybe political beliefs really could be predicted based on the kind of soda someone prefers. You’re now giving out more Bs than anything else, because some of these papers are damn creative.

Drink 4, because who’s counting anymore? You’re certain the paper in front of you is partially plagiarized from your own article published last year, but it’s so much work to deal with the Office of Student Conduct (and you’re kind of impressed at this student’s balls of steel). Give him a B-… eh, let’s make it a B, because at least he has good taste.

Drink 6, because you drank all of the last one contemplating how quickly integrity disappears after you’ve dealt with one too many screaming parents and weak administrators. Why bother actually reading any more papers? If you give everyone a B+, your life will be so much easier…

Drink 7: zzzzzzz

Scene: it’s the next morning. Your head hurts (really your whole body hurts, because you just can’t process booze like you used to) and your pride has taken a definite hit since you read your notes from last night. What did you mean by “err corr unt”? And half the notes aren’t even legible! Maybe they’ll think it looks like real doctor chicken scratch and assume you wrote something profound? The worst part is the grade you gave to some of this drivel. “Generous” is too kind a word for your complete and utter folding from the fear of bad student evaluations. Is it too early to open a new bottle of wine? Hey! Mimosas are for breakfast, right? Right.

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