Reaping Some Rewards

I am one amped professor right now.

This post essentially turns a 180 from my previous one (in which I was frustrated about failing to explain a literature review in an understandable way). Today, I’m feeling pretty darn good about my Feature Writing class. Earlier today, I got through grading all of their final story assignments. They. Were. Great!

Let me backtrack a little bit. Reading two dozen writing assignments isn’t always a lot of fun. Sometimes, as an educator, you just have to slog through them. Writing comments can take up a ton of time, but I’m careful to write everything that I think of on those papers. And I do it for everybody. For my first batch of papers earlier in the semester, it took me nine hours to get through all of them. I also developed some serious hand cramps while doing it.

But it’s worth it.

My philosophy about this is twofold: 1) I asked my students to spend time on this assignment, so I should respect them enough to actually read and consider what they’ve turned in to me; 2) if I’m not honest with them, don’t tell them exactly what I’m looking for in future assignments, and don’t challenge them, then what good am I as an educator? (As you’ve probably surmised, my answer to that question is “no good.”

Obviously, all of this work — theirs and mine — paid off. Those who entered the semester with strong writing skills tackled some very serious topics in their final feature reports. I read stories about people who are fighting cancer, the pros and cons of professors and students “friending” each other on Facebook, and someone trying to make it as a professional wrestler while supporting his family. Those whose writing skills needed a little bit of work responded to my challenge by producing an impressive number of “A” papers.

I’m proud of them. It’s as simple as that.

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