Saturday, May 01, 2004

I am finished with teaching for the semester! No more MSU students until late August. I helped proctor the MSUELT (English placement test thingy) yesterday morning, and then sat in my office for 3 hours in case my students wanted to pick up their finals and actual final grades. A grand total of three of them did.

The good thing about telling the students that they could come get their grades on Friday afternoon was that I actually had all of their final exams graded and their official grades tabulated. This means that I was able to turn in my official semester grade sheet, even though it wasn't technically due until Monday at 9am. Whoo-hoo! I did have one student call the office while I was sitting there waiting to tell me that he had updated his blog, so could I check it and update his grade accordingly? I was nice and added in the extra credit, but it didn't help his grade much. The unfortunate fact is that if you simply do not turn in a major paper, you will not get a good grade in the class. On the other hand, most of the students did well, so I stick by my rule that if you just show up to my class and try to do the work, you will pass. I was also pleased that my final exam for them this semester was actually a good test of the *skills* we had been working on in class, rather than the content of the various reading assignments. It is a reading and writing skills class, after all.

The strange thing about doing all this grading is that I suddenly realized I am a college teacher. I give students grades that will affect whether or not some of them are able to graduate from their home institutions. It all seems so weird now. How did this happen? I mean, yeah, I've taught before, but I never really had to give grades to anyone; that was the real teacher's job. It's like the first time I did my laundry at college, which is what really triggered the realization that I was grown up and away from home, or that time I was walking around the grounds of the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo and thought, "This is so beautiful. I wish I lived in Japan. Oh, wait! I do!" Somehow, my life changes a lot, and it all seems perfectly normal, except for those occasional instances where suddenly, it's not.

So anyway, now I'm all finished with that. I wonder what I'll be teaching next fall, and how many of my students I will see again. I don't wonder too much, though, because right now I have the whole summer stretching in front of me. I think grading must make me tired, because I napped for three hours yesterday afternoon, and then slept for 10 hours during the night. I obviously need time to recover.

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