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A few assorted observations from the past few days:

Now that we’re into the major papers, I’m realizing that I ought to have been tougher on grading earlier, so that I could now be giving them more accurate grades. The problem is that giving students an A on a small paper may not be inaccurate in terms of that particular assignment, but it does give the student a sense that they’re doing A work. If, however, their major paper gets a B, then, because it’s worth 20% and the smaller writings all together are 10%, suddenly that A student is getting a B+. They would rightly be somewhat scared about their grade dropping so precipitously. I’m thinking that I’ll either not grade the early work in the future or I’ll grade more harshly that I was originally inclined to. It’s not that my grading has been inaccurate; like I said before, the grades were fair for any given assignment, but I have to think about how the grades fit into an overall assessment of their performance.

Another point for today – I had my first set of student conferences today. I didn’t experience the fatigue that others have mentioned. I found them very enjoyable, except for the two students who didn’t show up. For the most part, the students seemed trepidated when they arrived but happy when they left. I had good conversations with them, and I did feel like I could give them more immediate and explicit feedback by looking at their papers together. I’ll have to think about how I can work those in more in the future. I worked it out this time by cancelling classes for the week, but I’m not thrilled about the idea of not seeing my students in the classroom for a week at a time. I feel like they’ll be really squirrelly when they return and will have a hard time getting back into the routine of class. On the other hand, I don’t think I could manage to meet with them around my normal schedule.

So, more to think about …

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