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16 September 2008 @ 12:46 am
save me from freshman papers  
I was excited this morning - the first paper for the class I'm TAing was due today.  I was looking forward to seeing how people addressed the prompt, and I knew there were going to be some doozies, but considering the most I've had to do for this class so far was to create a sign in sheet, anticipation about doing work and earning my keep had gotten to me.

Until I started to read.  I cannot explain the bad.  Admittedly, it's the first paper, and most of them are probably freshmen or sophomores or people from non humanities disciplines.  Some of them may never have written a paper in their lives.  It shows.

I'm trying to be as fair as I can... in part because there are 70 of them and 1 of me, and if I spent the time on working through their I'd like to with each one of them?  I'd never do anything else again.  Even if I spent the time correcting each one the way I'd like it would take me more than a week. 

My solution, I think, will be to talk to my professor about putting up a "tips for writing your paper" sheet for the next one... and we'll see who actually uses it.  But I foresee an entire semester where I have to slog through these things.  Thank god they're mostly three pages long (and yes, the margins are all messed with, the text is turned up to a 14 ... or 13.5...or not times new roman.  It's so funny how patently obvious those little tricks are).

Still... it's kind of fun....
 
 
 
gray_ghostgray_ghost on September 16th, 2008 06:44 am (UTC)
lol....they don't do that much better at math. I don't understand how some of them get up in the morning and put on their clothes. And a lot of them aren't really expecting you to read their work. They are just going through the motions of turning 'something' in because that's what got them through hs.

You should probably be brutal on the first few assignments to scare them. Than the ones who have something going on and are slacking will pick up the pace. The ones who don't...meh...

my monkied brainkatekat1010 on September 16th, 2008 04:49 pm (UTC)
They are just going through the motions of turning 'something' in because that's what got them through hs.

god you're so right about that.

sadly i can't be brutal because my prof set out the grading metric and he's giving As on content, not quality (if they hit a specific set of point that took a little analysis to get to)... this means even if they've got clarity issues, they're still going to feel as if they're ok. :(
literate and stylish: doctor who dishevelled tiemishloran on September 16th, 2008 07:19 am (UTC)
Thank god they're mostly three pages long (and yes, the margins are all messed with, the text is turned up to a 14 ... or 13.5...or not times new roman. It's so funny how patently obvious those little tricks are).

It IS really funny how obvious those little 'tricks' are, and have always been, yet people still do them. Do you have page limits not word limits? I always thought word limits were better, because then if a paper's gotta be 2,000 words long, there can be less arguments!

And oh, I remember those heady fresher days! 'Tips for Paper Writing' seems an excellent idea, though.
my monkied brain: giles - grey-glasseskatekat1010 on September 17th, 2008 04:05 am (UTC)
It's crazy to me, but it happens. And yes, we do page limits not word limits, and at this point I probably wouldn't be able to suggest to my prof that he change it (but when I teach my own classes? word limits all the way).

My "tips" keep getting longer and longer ;)
BJ: For Fuck's Sakedara_starscream on September 16th, 2008 01:53 pm (UTC)
(pets your head) There there . . . they can't all be brain-damaged . . .
-BJ
my monkied brain: giles - grey-glasseskatekat1010 on September 17th, 2008 04:06 am (UTC)
I certainly hope not, but... oh gods. Slogging my way through the awfulness does not reinstate my faith in humanity.
allyndra: Blank Pageallyndra on September 16th, 2008 07:55 pm (UTC)
I'm just hopping around lj, and I saw this post. OMG, the memories. I used to take off half a point for each grammar/spelling/punctuation error, up to 20 points. It was not only possible, but common for people to lose all 20 points on a 3-5 page paper. How? How do you graduate high school and make it into college with no knowledge of the mechanics of your own language? *is baffled* That's not even counting the actual content.

Good luck with the grading!
my monkied brain: giles - grey-glasseskatekat1010 on September 17th, 2008 04:08 am (UTC)
I *wish* I could institute harsher grading! The sad part is that I did the norming-session with the prof who's teaching and he told me, basically, that we can't expect too much out of them... so papers I'd never consider As are going to be As.

And I honestly think that these kids aren't graduating high school with a command of their own language because of the state of the education system in TX (where I am). No child left behind (and the like) are basically screwing them.

Thanks though! I actually made it through them all so i'm feeling quite proud of myself!