Wednesday, February 27, 2008

On the board

On Monday, my 510 class and I were very nervous to get back our first essays of the term. So nervous that some bad F dreams were reported.

I am always nervous about grades. I think this hit a fever pitch in law school, when grades were your entire life, but it was like that ever since I was a kid. Apparently the first time I got something "wrong" in kindergarten, I was traumatized and cried when I got home from school.

So by the time class rolled around, I was nervous.

Now, as a teacher, I understand the reasoning behind waiting until the end of class to distribute graded material. You want the kids to focus on learning rather than the grade. Also, if your kids are going to HATE you, you'd rather them be on their way out the door when they start to hate you than having to look at them for the next however long as they sit there and seethe. And not learn.

Still --- I have a hard time focusing when I know a grade is coming and I don't have it.

So class was long.

Then he handed out the papers. My grade was fine.

But then he started putting papers up on the overhead projector to show examples of things that were done well or poorly. First, he puts up a paper of a friend of mine who happened not to make it to class that day. Good things to say about her, and then commented on her organization/thesis paragraph.

To illustrate his point about the kind of thesis paragraph he was thinking of, he scrolls down the PDF.

To mine.

My name is on it. There are the two typos in the first paragraph. All of his suggestions and corrections.

"Oh," I say out loud. "It looks a lot worse when it's so big!" (I get a chuckle from the rest of the class.)

It's fine, and I don't really care. I don't get embarrassed easily (thank goodness). Perhaps someone else would have been mortified, so it's better that he used mine. :)

And so my friends teased me, but just a little. I gently reminded them that I taught English to high school freshmen, if there is ONE THING I should be able to do, it's write a thesis paragraph, for heaven's sake.

So that paper is down -- now we're waiting for word on the agenda setting proposal. And the more and more I think about it, the more and more I'm convinced it's a huge mess.

Sigh --- life of a student.

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