Wake me up when semester ends…

I enjoy teaching.  I really do.  I’ve been teaching writing for heading on ten years, now (Fall 2013 will be the ten-year anniversary).  I love helping students grasp something they haven’t understood before.

What I hate is the time and energy sink that is grading papers.  It takes five minutes to grade an A paper–and fifteen minutes, minimum, for a C paper.  Twenty to forty minutes for worse papers.

Now, multiply that by fifty (the largest number I can have in Missouri, teaching for MSSU as an adjunct).  Grading papers eats up a minimum of about sixteen or seventeen hours every three weeks.  Along with the papers, I have my students writing blogs.  Every semester, the Comp I students write three posts per week, and the Comp II students write two (longer) posts per week.  Blogs take about four hours per class to grade.

I also hate that a few students each semester seem to not bother reading the material I provide,* and I can tell they haven’t because of the questions they ask.  I point them at the textbook, at a specific chapter, and remind them that they were supposed to have read it a week or so earlier.  They come back with “But I don’t get it!”

And I can tell they still haven’t read the chapter.  Because when I copy and paste the relevant pages into an email, it’s always “Oh!  Now I understand!”

(You need to understand: for the blogging, I’ve got step by step instructions with screen captures explaining how to do things.  And I never get the same questions about papers.)

With these things eating up my time, energy, and patience, I barely have enough left for my children.  I have two: a four year old boy, and a newly-turned-two year old girl.

I don’t have the mental energy to write.  Much.  I do a lot of editing, but can’t really get my brain up to speed to write.

Yesterday was the last day of semester.  I have blogs to grade today, and one last revision that got turned in very late last night.  I’m turning grades in on Wednesday morning, sending the kids off to my mom’s house for the day, and doing Christmas shopping.  I’ll also be finishing up a couple of book outlines, and finishing up revising the first draft of a novel I finished writing just before classes started in August.

I’ll have until the third week of January to work on writing, while the kids are asleep.  I’ll have about four hours a day, between their naptimes, and their bedtimes and mine.

And that’s going to feel good.


*Since I’m not happy with any particular textbook, I wrote my own for both of the classes I teach.