Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Grading Papers & Quizzes

Note: Actual fiber content follows.

About one-third of the way into the semester (and 3/4 of the way through the accelerated classes), I find myself covered up with assignments to grade; quizzes to make, administer and grade; portfolios to review; students to encourage (sounds better than nag!) and all those things that make teaching an administrative challenge.

I have spent the last 3 days grading when I would rather be updating handouts for an evening presentation for my professional development work. A colleague says, 'I'll teach for free, but you have to pay me to grade papers.' Now I could give fewer assignments, totally objective self-grading exams. Instead I think my students benefit from small, frequent assignments and quizzes where I expect them to construct answers. I am writing this post while my students take their quiz!

The upside is that I am hitting the endgame in the evening classes, so I have prepped and field-tested all my material for the full term courses. I have a great group of students this semester, particularly in the evening session. They are an interesting mix of career changers, teacher assistants finishing their degrees and traditional day students closed out of the on-campus classes. One man is from Guatemala, a Spanish teacher in a small private school getting certified to teach in North Carolina -he's brilliant! Another is a 40ish former graphic designer and mom who is going through a divorce and taking advantage of her life-change to go back to school to do what she always wanted to do - be a teacher. The teacher assistants add real-world experience to my group and I appreciate them immensely. One of the day students dropped by my office to tell me how much he enjoyed the evening class. He told me that he didn't expect to like it, but he too appreciates the diversity of the adult program.

Actual Fiber Content: I have knit another Gull Lace Cap as I test the pattern for improved knittability or errors. I've only made a small change since I got it back from the testers. I knit a sapmle for Asheville HomeCrafts in Baby Alpaca Grande (sweet!) and will knit another in Brown Sheep Bulky for the shop. Tonight is a teaching night (only 3 more!) so I won't get back to the pattern today. I am knitting a charming pair of Hedgerow socks (see picture above, though it's not mine - just a close up of the knit pattern) though the stitch pattern is getting lost in the stripes of my Knit Picks Felici.
I've also been spinning again. I like to spin very much and my shops are OUT! Can't let that happen! More fiber to come in the next post.

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