My friend Anna Gissing wrote a lovely meditation over at Emerging Scholars Blog on the most dreaded part of my job: grading.
Grading would be fun if we could please everyone. If all of our students cared about the course and did their best work, we’d enjoy giving them feedback, even if they needed to improve. If students considered grades an assessment to let them know where they needed to improve and where they were excelling, it might be easier to hand down grades. But grading sometimes brings out relational junk.
I wish I could say that I’m ready to treat grading as a spiritual practice. She’s right that it can be–she’s right that any worthy work can be deeply theological and therefore spiritual.
But, alas, right now I’m just trying to get through it all.
She’s also right about all the reasons professors tend to dread grading. If she’ll permit me a rephrase: it is a genuinely moral enterprise, a solemn responsibility. It’s a thing that matters, and it matters that it be done well.
If it were merely drudgery, it wouldn’t be so dreadful.
Alas, right now I’m just trying to get through it all.
But I will try with a renewed appreciation for the value of work well done, thanks to this piece.