I just hit “submit” on William & Mary’s Banner Self-Service for Faculty page and sent all the grades to the registrar. The semester’s over! (Pause for cheers.)
I only taught one seminar this semester: English 368, Creative Writing–Fiction. Every class is different; what really struck me about this group was that their writing actually improved over the course of the semester. And yes, that’s what you aim for when you teach writing–it just doesn’t always happen.
It was a small class-sixteen students–but each of them wrote a total of 20,000 words over the course of the semester. That was a lot of final draft to read.
I like teaching. But grading, like writing itself, is one of those things that lends itself to, er, procrastination. The week went something like this…
1. Took papers to the dentist, intending to read in the waiting room. But the dentist had People! Obviously, no competition there.
2. Sat down to grade papers. Played Spider Solitaire. Promised myself I would stop and grade papers as soon as I won. Won. Promised myself I would stop and grade papers as soon as I won in under ten minutes.
3. Promised myself I would stop and grade papers as soon as I read the first chapter of the new Emily Giffin novel. Read first chapter. Read second chapter. Finished new Emily Giffin novel.
4. Decided I needed snack before grading papers. Made jelly cookies. Made chocolate butterscotch cookies. Made brownies. Decided to go for run.
5. Noticed that doors to boys’ rooms were covered with greasy fingerprints, dog nose prints, and random black smears. Washed doors with nice hot bleach solution so I could concentrate on grading papers without thinking about dirt.
6. Took papers to favorite restaurant. Promised myself I would finish grading at least two papers before ordering. Waiter was extremely prompt, and promptness should be rewarded. Ordered. Food came too fast. Obviously, can’t grade papers while eating–might get food on papers.
7. Took papers to pool to grade while watching kids swimming. Kids keep yelling, “Watch this, Mom!” Clearly, must watch kids perform amazing stunts (i.e., jumping into pool backwards while making seal noises, throwing ball at sibling’s head with great force, etc.).
8. Actually finished grading a paper.
9. Decided it would be easier to grade remaining papers if I constructed detailed rubric. Began to write rubric out on laptop. Realized that all folders on desktop needed renaming.
10. Graded another paper.
11. Cleaned nine-year-old’s room.
12. Graded another paper.
13. Graded another paper.
14. Ate some cookies.
15. Graded another paper.
16. Graded another…
Hey, did I mention that the semester’s over?