It’s Halloween. I’m up way early because I kept worrying about my students’ term papers. My general psych class (taught at a community college and not a full university where my other classes are) is on a standardized curriculum, meaning that I’m really not a teacher in there, I’m a trained monkey grader because I am allowed virtually no control over any of the details of the class. God forbid they just fire the teachers who weren’t doing their jobs. They have to put us ALL on the same, poorly thought out, not edited for typos or grammar, curriculum. As a part of this class, our students are required to complete a “writing assignment”. I use the term loosely because, well, the assignment is lame.
Don’t get me wrong. Students need to learn how to write. They need to know how to communicate clearly. So do the lead instructors who design the class. Because their instructions and setup are not remotely clear and having just finished grading all of the papers last night, nearly 2/3rds of the class failed the assignment. And not even because of my grammar nazi tendencies. Simply because they either didn’t follow instructions or because the format in which the department insists they turned the papers in ate all their formatting and made it appear as if the students wrote only ONE paragraph (instead of four) for each essay question. I am so not okay with that. I’m having them all send the papers in AGAIN in a Word document that will preserve formatting so I can reassess their grades.
I’ve just spent the last hour writing up new instructions for a similar assignment that are, I hope, considerably clearer in terms of expectations of the student (as well as change the format in which they turn the paper in so that we can use nifty features like Turnitin or SafeAssign to automatically check for plagiarism, which makes a teacher’s life SO MUCH EASIER). I pray to God that the lead instructor takes my suggestions.
In happier news, again, IT’S HALLOWEEN! I’m trying to get excited about it. My in laws are having a big party tonight (it’s becoming an annual thing) for which hubby’s band Don’t Tell Joe is playing. It’s going to be outside, there will be bonfire and hotdogs and s’mores (the things of happiness). My costume is kind of lame. Since it is outside and it’s supposed to be in the 40s, I’m going as a ski bunny. Just a big ski sweater and ski pants and if I can find them, goggles. Or maybe bunny ears if I can find any left at Walmart when I go later this morning. There are obviously cooler costumes available, but I just hate to spend much money on something I’m going to wear for only a few hours. I maxed out my desire to do that with the $700 wedding dress (It was a SERIOUSLY great dress–originally $3k Maggie Sottero, but it was previous season, so on sale).
Today is the FINAL DAY of the October Novel Push Initiative. Last night did not get me anywhere. 540 words, most of which got rejected. I’m going to try to knock out some more words this morning before my spouse arises and does a zombie impression while begging for coffee. After that, we still have 3 pumpkins to carve! I’ll post pictures of those later. Time to get some breakfast!