Friday 17 December 2010

Marking and Snow

I was so absorbed in my marking yesterday that I did not notice the snow. Aware that I have a busy weekend ahead involving a fair amount of travelling and that I’d be teaching on our MA course until 8.00 p.m., I thought I was keeping an eye open.
“Did you see the snow?” asked one colleague. “Great big fluffy flakes. I thought it was going to stick.”
I hadn’t seen a single drop.
A quick phone call home established that it had snowed all afternoon and had reached a good six inches but then it had all melted again. We seem to be in a hole once more.
Could it be that it only snowed on one side of the building? Or that I was so absorbed in my work I didn’t notice? I did keep looking out of the window, but I guess it was only every so often – and just at the times it wasn’t snowing.
I’ve brought home three full bags of marking. I remember doing that last year as well. They’re promising fuel shortages now, so perhaps a wise thing to do. Let it snow, let snow, let it snow!
The marking is absorbing. I grappled with two different pieces of coursework yesterday. One was a Writers’ Response, and I’m fascinated that I am marking the assignment electronically. There is something very clear and neat about the way you can annotate the work. And if you find a tricky one – I actually found two or three tricky ones – you can quickly get another colleague to take a look. However, you cannot attach our cover sheets and you have to give them the mark out of 30 or 35 or whatever and not the mark out of 100 that we normally give. However, the latter may be down to how I set it up in the first place. We learn as we go along.
I’ve also been marking an evaluative essay from my Introduction to Children’s Literature module. I’ve marked about half of the scripts and the marks cover the normal range with no fails so far. In every case I’m pleased to note that the students seem to have thought long and hard about their texts. The biggest disappointment was that some did not include a bibliography. It clearly states that this is needed in the module handbook. But then, do they read the module handbooks? A surprising number of students thought we had a class Week 12. I always tell them that getting the mechanics of submission correct is the easy bit, even if it is a bit boring. Even one or two of our best students failed here. That does make me ask the question, though; do I need to make it all a little less complex?

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