Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Closing off

Kzoo paper: Done, pretty much. There will probably be hasty edits on the plane, or the night before when I'm reading it through for the last time, but at least has a conclusion now, and I've printed it off.

Final grades: Submitted in three out of four classes. I agonized over a couple of them. It is painful to flunk a student you've had for several classes, and will be seeing again in the fall; particularly if you get an eleventh-hour e-mail asking if it's too late to submit the paper that was due in March. (Um. Yes.) It's also hard to make the hairsbreadth yes-or-no decisions when a grade is right on the line.

I dislike this end-of-the-semester feeling, the feeling of things being ended and closed off and determined. (It is perhaps relevant that I score waaaaay over on the P side of the judging-perceiving spectrum on those Myers-Briggs tests, although I also think Myers-Briggs tests are pseudoscience, so on second thought, maybe it's not relevant at all.) I am OK with the prospect of making decisions at some vague date in the future, but I don't like having made them. Left to my own devices, I would submit the grades at the last possible moment, and the paper never.

I notice that the final grades for my courses are clustering in the B- / C+ range, which probably also reflects my aversion to decisions. You see, those are weaselly grades. A mid-range grade like that does not preclude the possibility that the student will end up with either an A or an F as a final course grade; it cuts off no possibilities; it allows one to put off passing judgment on the student's work indefinitely. (It is also, of course, possible that I have a whole slew of students doing B-minus to C-plus work, particularly in Brit Lit II, which has a striking lack of both stars and slackers.)

Well; the exams from the last class will soon be in, and after I finish grading them, the next teaching-related task on my agenda will be writing syllabi for next semester. I find that sort of thing much more pleasant. Syllabi are all about the promises, the hopes, the students I don't know yet, the open horizons.

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