Marking, Marking, Marking

19 03 2006

“Life is an error-making and an error-correcting process, and nature in marking man’s papers will grade him for wisdom as measured both by survival and by the quality of life of those who survive. ” ~ Jonas Salk

I’ve always enjoyed marking. One thing I’ve prided myself on as a teacher is providing comments and suggestions to help students improve their writing. I’ve always wanted them to improve. I’ve willed them to improve. I’ve waited for them to improve.

Now I’m just feed-up.

Granted, a lot of that probably has to do with the amount of “marking” I’ve had to do this term. All of the assignments from all my courses seem to come in at once. There are a lot of essay assignments in my own course (weekly essays and revisions) at this point in the course.

Then there is my work as an online writing instructor – basically marking without the marks. This is particularly frustrating because I rarely get the chance to see them – we don’t usually get the chance to work with the same students.

I find I’m saying the same things over and over and over again and on nearly every paper. This is what a thesis is. This is how to structure a paper and a paragraph. This is a big one: express your ideas as clearly and directly as possible.

I’ve tried to nurture them. I’ve tried to scare them. Nothing seems to make them less complacent about their inability to write even a simple sentence. But I’m not really frustrated with them; I’m frustrated with myself for not finding a new way to say what they need to hear.

How I long now for true and false questions. Simple yes and no answers.




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