This past weekend, while I should have been studying for an exam I have on Wednesday and writing a paper also due on Wednesday, I spent hours upon hours grading homework and quizzes for the class I teach. It was painful – mentally and physically – since I was confined to my couch looking at the same things over and over and over again… I got through it, though. It’s a small price to pay in exchange for a tuition waiver and health insurance!
I think the teaching part of teaching is fun, but this grading is something to get used to. I like leading the class in activities, creating the prep worksheet, drawing the instructions on the board, and problem solving on my feet while in lab. Grading, on the other hand, takes a lot more time. I idiotically left it all for the weekend, instead of spreading it out over the week, so it’s definitely my fault it felt like so much. It did go pretty quickly when people got the problems correct. The most difficult part was figuring out what went wrong in the problems where students made a mistake. Now I know for next time to start earlier!
Teaching, including grading, gives me an additional sense of respect for professors. When I get a 20-pg paper assignment, I may groan, but imagine the professor who has to grade 20+ of them! I couldn’t even imagine… the lab reports I’ll be grading aren’t supposed to exceed 5 pp., and even then, some of it will be graphs of raw data, etc. Plus, the professors need to figure out a way to test for understanding, which can be very difficult in larger lecture classes.