I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t grading something

download (1)I am three days from being done with the school year — if you don’t count finals which I don’t because then I’d be looking at a last day of May 11, when I am assigned to give a final at the last possible hour the school gives finals.

Grades are then due…I don’t even know when, but graduation is May 15 so I’m assuming before that. Don’t laugh. This is how I’ve operated since I got shot out of a cannon into this job last August. I’m sure if I scroll back through my thousands of emails, the answer’s in there somewhere. The answer is in there somewhere for just about everything, but who has time to read all those emails?

About two weeks ago, I realized that this school year has been a kind of boot camp. I’ve been in academic boot camp, with all the strange stimuli and weird eating habits and lack of sleep, because reveille comes at 5, and you don’t think about it too much. Because I think every class a student takes should make that student a better writing, I have assigned quite a lot of writing in each class — which means quite a lot of grading. I’m committed to grading things quickly so that students don’t have to wait for feedback, and if I’ve been light on actual feedback, at least I’ve been quick.

All told, I’ve shepherded roughly 90 students through each semester, and it’s been awesome. But if someone had told me back in July when I got this job what it would entail, I would have thought they were trying to scare me. Lunches have been salads shoved into my face while I create another lecture. Breakfasts are often at my desk, too, because I kept thinking if I got to work early enough, I could get a jump on things.

That did not prove to be the case. And I have made it home for dinner, most nights.

But I’m closing in on the end of the school year and may I just take a moment to say to teachers, everywhere, throughout all time: I bow in your general direction. I apologize for the ignorant questions I used to ask in class (mostly around the theme, “Is this going to be on the test?”). I apologize for wasting your time and mine by not showing up to class. If I had it to do over again, I would have thanked you, however much heart you brought to the classroom.

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6 responses to “I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t grading something

  1. Congratulations for surviving academic boot camp! Based on the great COMM blog, and knowing you and your commitment to the students, the students were lucky to have you as their academic guide. Now you may have to retrain yourself to relax through a meal and get a full night of sleep!

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