It was a hellishly busy semester, and wouldn’t you know that the grading would also be hellish? One more day, I think, and I’ll have all this done. I’m about to stroll down to the coffeeshop and surround myself with papers and red pens again, but I think this should wrap it up. Bear with me a little longer.

In case the trolls are thinking to exploit my absence, the monitors have been doing a good job, and all they need to do is send me an alert and my iPad goes “boing!”, and once I peel my eyes away from the papers I take care of it.


  1. Ogvorbis: Exhausted and broken says


    This teaching thing is interfering with your blogging. Where are your priorities?

  2. shouldbeworking says

    I have 132 exams to grade. And 26 more labs. The coffee shop will be seeing a lot of my money.

  3. davidct says

    Be careful not to use any green pens. That would make you a traitor in the “Great War On Christmas”.

    I hope your students surpass your expectations and require little red. Cheers.

  4. says

    I spent the weekend grading papers and I’ll have another batch to take care of this week. There’s light at the end of the tunnel. (Oh, damn. The light is from Christmas trees. What a hassle of a holiday.)

  5. johnwoodford says

    One more day to my vacation,
    And the turning of the year!
    I will grade these little students
    They will wet themselves with fear!

    Though PZ doesn’t really seem the Javert type.

  6. Rip Steakface says

    @6 johnwoodford

    Glad I’m not the only one that thought that when reading the title of the post.

  7. pHred says

    ARGH! Staring at final where student gets first part of question relatively correct, second part is totally backasswards wrong, then student somehow extracts correct written answer from this mess. Love concept of rubrics but students always find ways to totally break any preconceived notion of how they will get things wrong.

    Grading lasts forever and is a unique brand of torture as you see what students managed to get out of the material that you painstakingly attempt to teach them over the course of the semester.

    BTW – totally agree with title of next post. ARGH again!

  8. pHred says

    Sometimes hard to avoid feeling like I spend all of my time talking to myself in classrooms, since it sure doesn’t show up on their tests.

  9. pHred says

    I take it back, it appears that the students that attended class for the last topic still have a good grasp of it and are doing well on that portion of the test. Okay (since I am talking to myself here for no apparently good reason) my data is suggesting a woeful lack of study skills in the students here.

  10. Ogvorbis: Exhausted and broken says

    Staring at final where student gets first part of question relatively correct, second part is totally backasswards wrong, then student somehow extracts correct written answer from this mess.

    I did that once on a high school calculus test. Took the problem, went off in totally the wrong direction, solved for the wrong thing, used that to solve for the right thing, and got the right answer. In the wrong way. Got half credit for the equation. And my teacher wrote, on the test, that this one answer was worth a double bourbon.

  11. says

    The book is written. Just heard back from my editor that there are a few little things that should be patched up, and the publishers are in a hurry to get it out the door.

    Of course that request for a few little changes would show up at the height of gradin’ fever. I’m going to fix those up tonight, though, so I can at last be free of obligations.

    For a week or so.

  12. ChasCPeterson says

    Grading lasts forever and is a unique brand of torture

    It’s the fucking worst, and even moreso if you have…err…procrastinatory tendencies.
    It’s driving me from the profession.
    I’m not kidding. I’d rather drive a truck.

  13. pHred says

    @Ogvorbis – I agree with the double bourbon. This is one of two times of year that I start to contemplate hard alcohol with strong desire.

    @ ChasCPeterson – truck driving is certainly looking appealing to me at this moment as I contemplate the pile of exit slips that I need to deal with.

    One class down and two to go.

  14. says

    Ah yes, grading. One of the several reasons I left academia.

    For me it involved a stupidly large pile of licorice bullets and jelly babies. One of my cow orkers had a tactic of taking all the grading, and nothing else, to a motel in a very boring part of town a long way from his home. Nothing to do but get it done. (No igadgets or cable TV for distraction in those days. And of course he didn’t take his computer & modem.)

  15. stanton says

    Have you considered pestering Donald Prothero for a copy of his paper on Skinnerhyus shermerorum, a peccary with wing-like cheekbones?

  16. JohnnieCanuck says

    Forgive me, I cannot let it go.

    A teacher that refers to someone as a cow orker. Does it involve teaching them to work at a trained seal’s job? Ork! Ork! I can see it now. Cows tossing beach balls and catching them on their noses.

    I would have made a lousy teacher. Too easily distracted.

  17. says

    Chigau; “cow orker is a trope from the Olde Dayes of the Intertubes” – which is appropriate since it was Ye Olde Dayes. As clued by the “modem”. I had a sticker on my fridge that said “grrls need modems”. Young people nowadays probably don’t even know what a modem is and can get off my lawn :)

  18. JohnnieCanuck says

    Must have been a different Inner tube than I was on. I go back to Usenet and comp.sys.* on PDP-11 minis and running the first BBS in the city on an Apple II with a 300 baud modem.

    I’d think I’d remember cow orker if I had come across it before. Still, it is one of the first things to go, they say.

  19. says

    JohnnieCanuck, cow orker was definitely one of the shibboleths on alt.folklore.urban back in the day not all that long after the AOLcalypse, and it seemed to be regarded as quite venerable when I first encountered it.

  20. says

    Ahh, break. I really do love being on break, but by the time January rolls around again I’m always ready for classes to start back up.
    As a student, I want to say thank you to all of you professors and teachers out there who, despite being buried under piles of grading, still take the time to put feedback on your students’ papers. It really means a lot to see that my professors care enough to tell me how I can improve, and I really take those comments seriously. So, thanks, and I hope all your grading goes well.

    PZ: I’m looking forward to the book.

  21. Crudely Wrott says

    Seems then that teaching college students is like teaching children and nowadays, for me, grand children. They get some of it, get some of it wrong, fall down and cry, get up and dust off, then finally get a bit of it right. OK, like learning to walk. Or to speak one’s native language. Or to do ciphering.

    Then one day one of them will ask you a question that you recognize as prescient and well structured and you will look at them with the same look that you used to see on their young faces. For words at a loss you will be.

    Cycles. With age comes amusement with such encounters. A different entertainment. Inside of that is something greater than hope.

    Thanks to you who labor to teach. Your work is not in vain.