Monday, March 30, 2009
My biggest fear is that they (students, colleagues, my department chair) will learn I never grade anything. Well almost nothing, I do grade exams, but not much else. Sometimes I read papers if I make them write one, which is not often.
Here is how I figure my system works. I teach around 250 students a semester, 4 classes, usually 2 preps but sometimes 3. So I figure, just showing up for class and knowing 20 kids names I am doing pretty good.
But my colleagues all bitch and moan about grading! I keep my mouth shut because, WTF do I care if they waste their time grading. I think grading just means you want them to see the world the way you do and most people don’t like it when students see the world differently. I am here to tell you students see the world totally differently than we do.
So I like to focus my energy on what I bring into the class. I spend a lot of time on prep – even for classes I have taught for years; new stuff, new topics, new ideas, new technology. I figure if the students know I am on top of my game, they will think I am grading everything. I also figure that they are either going to sink or swim with or without me.
I hope that I can motivate students to do their best, whatever that best is. For some it may be a C and others an A. All learning is self driven, so if I have add to their motivation by making class interesting, they will learn.
All the extra work I give has one purpose, for them to be prepared for class. They think they are doing all these cool projects and I am getting them into the text book and notes long before the night of the exam. I figure that way, all assignments that are not exams are given full points and those assignments serve as the curve for the class. All idiots love a curve, so I give them one and they just don’t know it.