. . . is hard work, in case you’ve ever wondered. I just spent an over an hour writing comments on just one. Fourteen more to go. The more problematic the paper, the more labor-intensive it is to evaluate, comment on, and grade. Since I teach mostly applied music, it’s been a while since I was confronted by a stack of term papers written by first-year students. These days it’s actually an inbox full of papers, since I had the students submit them electronically, both to save paper and so I could try using the “insert comment” feature in MSWord.
My next-door neighbor teaches philosophy. My paper-grading workload is nothing compared to his.
I wonder how many people outside academia realize how many hours a conscientious college professor spends on grading papers and essay exams. If you do a good job, it takes forever. The energy to do it comes from care, commitment, and a sense of mission. I could have given the paper I just read a B- and written a few comments in 5 or 10 minutes. How much would that have helped the student learn?
I’m not writing to pat myself on the back, because I have it easy with just sixteen papers. This process does, however, fill me with a sense of awe at what my liberal-arts colleagues do day in and day out.