In high school classes I have to teach literature and writing, on top of vocabulary and grammar. They are mostly doing the vocab work themselves. And I will confess that my explanations of grammar are not the best. I have never needed to figure out all those things and it's been thirty years almost since I studied them myself. I know them, but it's more of an intuitive knowledge. Of course, I have a lot to say about writing, but I have to teach the curriculum I have been given. I am slowly figuring out how to adapt it to what I want to be able to do with it, but it is a very slow process. The curriculum teaches writing as a product, with a minimal process. That's not how to get good papers, though. You need a much more developed process.
I am still dealing with the fall out from the poorly prepared literature project. One of the better students has decided it is not worth her effort to even attempt to finish the work. It's twenty percent of the grade and will bring her down to a B, even if she aces the midterm. She says she doesn't care. Not only does she not plan on working on it, she doesn't intend to do the next project either. You know, I can see not wanting to do something because you don't like it or disagree with it or whatever. But just deciding to skip 20% of your grade on a whim is a bit immature.
The grading for those classes is heavy. I grade in class and out of class work. They grade their quizzes and I record the grades, but overall I am doing a lot of grading.
I am really enjoying my younger class. In that class I have five students that I already knew and loved. But I have a bunch of new kids who are a lot of fun, too. There is one student in that class with whom I am often exasperated. She sits through the whole class sighing about how she didn't get the information written down. Even when she did. And she doesn't believe me when I tell her she did. I understand her perfectionism, but her whininess is annoying. I think I need to talk to her personally outside of class. (joy.)
I've spent four hours today grading papers from my older classes. They had some good work, but they didn't follow directions or they didn't follow through with the same quality. There were lots of B's, three C's, and a D. I guess that means there were 14 B's. No, I had one A. So 13 B's.
When I look at their papers, at first glance, they look very good. Some of them have a very mature writing style, well-developed with a rich vocabulary. But they misspell words, don't put quotations around story titles, forgot part of the assignment… The writing curriculum has two major stylistic components. Most people missed at least one of them in the paper. I am going to ask them to re-write them. The problem with that is that I won't have all their grades then for that section. They will do better if they re-write it before the mid-term, but I didn't put that in their homework assignments. If I add it, they aren't going to be too happy. Plus it makes me look even more scatter brained than I am.
I think I will offer it as an alternative. “You don't have to rewrite these, but some of them were so good, with just a few easily fixed problems, that I will re-grade them if you decide you want to re-write them.” That should make both my perfectionists happy, because they can fix their papers, and my lazy kids happy, because they don't have to.