The only good thing about having a lot of grading and multiple types of classes is that I can switch around from one project to another and still be getting stuff done. So, today I graded a couple more essays, then, tired of the topic of education, I switched over to their response papers. I thought I finished all of those but while looking for a straggler assignment from another class I came across more of them and fell into a despair, so I switched over to grading the quizzes from my Stripey Class even though that is not a priority.
Well, at least that was quick. I think this is quiz three or four and still I am mostly getting blank sheets of paper handed in to me. I did get several 5 out of 5s for this week, which lets me know that the quizzes themselves aren't that hard and that they are still not doing any of the reading. (seriously, one of the questions could be answered by looking carefully at the title of the work this week!) In the same way, most of the students don't have any paper out or take any notes while I lecture. And yet, when I reminded them that there was a midterm coming up in a few weeks, they wanted assurances that I would do a midterm review! Honey, I can tell you straight out what all the questions are going to be and you will still fail this midterm if you haven't done any reading for the semester. And if you find the reading boring and hard now, then waiting until it is one hour before the midterm to do half a semester's reading is not going to somehow be easier.
So I will give them a reminder when I do the next quiz of what the point of these is, and why they will not be able to pass the midterm if they are not doing any reading and taking notes. Sigh. I don't feel like this is my business --- I myself often did not take any notes in certain of my classes because it wasn't always the best way for me to study --- but if you remember, the stripey class last semester was the one where I had a lot of complaints and problems and even threats when they failed those midterms, so I want to at least make it clear what they will need to do and what the consequences will be if they are not reading and studying. Gah! Just like last semester, these are overwhelmingly seniors and some juniors, so I don't see why they are not connecting the dots: not doing the readings -> failing all the quizzes -> taking no notes -> dozing off in lecture will all add up to a failing grade in the class! Maybe it will not be so painful after the midterm if I keep warning them of what's going to happen.
Thing is, I like this class much more than last semester --- I know the material a bit more now, and my (revised from last time) lectures are smoother, and I am getting class discussion. They are much more entertained. I can just see what is going to happen down the line and want to stave off, if not sucky midterms, then hostile meetings and responses and confrontations in front of the dept chair over sucky (mostly blank) midterms. There might not be any way around that, gah. Well, I will prep a little angry lecture that connects all the dots for them and hopefully that will have some effect.
Ok, now --- do I grade a couple more essays, response papers, or in-class paragraphs? Or do I look at some of the writing from the Fruit Studies class? I promise I will give you an update on them and their saga in the near future.