I need a grading breather. Of course, this is after the break I took to cook a large and involved lunch, the break to wash dishes, the break to get coffee and settle in at the neighborhood coffee shop, etc.
But man, it feels like Groundhog Day. The Bill Murray movie, not the media event. Every day it's: get up, put some clothes on and go to a coffee place so I can't avoid grading via sleep, grade things, avoid grading things, come home and relax and avoid the dissertation after grading things --- is it Monday? is it Tuesday? Did the weekend actually end or am I just going to be doing this for the rest of my life? Urgh. Please end soon.
I especially need a break because I just read a certain student's paper. You know the one ---- the one who went missing during weeks five through seven; the one who bombed the midterm; the one whose comments in section I never know how to deal with because they are pretty literally on the level of "Space aliens! This message is coming from above as mind control!" The one who asked me if this whole problem with knowing how to determine an interpretation couldn't have been solved by the use of video cameras back then (and presumably, I guess, a time machine); the one who the Prof, when observing me, noted I put such a hard "spin" on said student's comments that I never really engaged the student's (off the wall) theories; the same student who, the following week, tried to answer one of Prof's questions in lecture and who he had to put the same kind of "ummm, well, let me restate that..." spin as I had (vindication of a sort!); the one who, during week 8, suddenly interrupted section to blurt out "Wait, you mean that because the course is called [insert title of class here], we're going to use [insert title of class here] form of interpretation?"
The same student who turned in a forceful and eloquently written essay that strongly proved the paper prompt and showed none of the comprehension problems or logical gaps of the past quarter? Yeah, that one.
Sigh. And now I have to think about issues of trust and acceptance, about whether to take this essay on its self-evident merits as a sign of improvement or as a sign of sneakiness. Now I have to go talk to my prof and fellow TAs. Now I have to see if I have any other samples of the written work still in my possession. Now I have to consider ideas of evidence and proof from a different angle than what I've been teaching my students ---- or, in a way, there are similarities to this other sort of textual analysis. But now, in short, I have a lot more work than I did a few minutes ago. And it's work that is far more depressing.