Thursday, April 9, 2009
Partially Protective Patrick from Portage La Prairie Proffers Some Prose on Putting Down the Grading Pen.
There is no inherent connection between educating and grading. Outside of the university or college setting, people learn things every day without being graded. They learn those things because they simply want to learn them.
Grades only matter in the university setting because people want credentials at the end of their university experience. That would not be so bad if I thought that students wanted something more than credentials - that they actually did want to learn something just for the sake of learning it. I don't believe that.
I believe that students just want the credentials, and they could not give two shits if they ever learn anything in my classroom. They just want the grade, and that means they see me as just a grader, and not an educator.
By refusing to grade, Jen from Jonesboro indeed makes a statement - she says, "I am, first and foremost, an educator. I want to teach you, and I want you to learn, just because learning will enrich your life."
Does that mean I think that we should all just forget about the grading? No. I cannot reconcile that view with the fact that we are hired to be graders - deliverers of credentials. I must admit, too, to shameful bursts of optimism, that, somehow, someway, a student will one day look past the grade I put on her paper, look at the comments I put on it, and actually (if only accidentally) learn something. But I can have those thoughts without condemning Jen.