The Truth About Teaching

A former student texted me yesterday for help on a paper she’s writing for a college class. I was immensely flattered not only that she remembers me, but also that she apparently considers me a reliable source for a literature paper.

…And then I began to miss my students.

I miss their amazingness. And their frustratingness.

I miss our class discussions and our Brian Regan marathons.

I miss challenging them and being challenged in return.

(Don’t get me wrong – I love the ministry that I am now a part of. I know I am exactly where God wants me, and I find many aspects of my new position exciting, fulfilling, and challenging. And it’s nice to leave work at work, to not bring home fifty-seven essays to be graded every evening. But sometimes…I kinda get bored.)

So, in honor of my former students (and because none of my current students follow this blog), I am going to share a bit of the mystery of teaching. I am going to reveal a secret that I – and many teachers just like me – have kept hidden for generations.

I am going to pull back the curtains…

…and tell you exactly how I grade essays…

How my students THINK I grade essays:

Essay demonstrates mastery of the topic, synthesizes information from class notes and outside reading while introducing new information and presenting new conclusions = A

Essay demonstrates grasp of the topic, synthesizes information from class notes and outside reading, but introduces no new information and draws few conclusions = B

Essay regurgitates information presented in class = C

Essay is copied nearly word for word from Wikipedia and briefly alludes to a joke mentioned in class = D

No essay = F

How I REALLY grade essays:

I actually made it through your essay and/or your essay is typed = A

You have pretty handwriting, and you use paragraphs =  B

You wrote on both sides of the paper, and there are several glaring spelling errors = C

You turned in half a page of illegible squiggles I think are words = D

No essay = F


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