Teaching as an adjunct can be a lot of fun. It is also challenging. As I have encountered a number of situations, I realize such a blog can be helpful, both to me and to others.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Tough But Fair

It is always rewarding to me when a student, who indicates that s/he thinks you are a tough graders, tells you s/he enjoys your class. Recently, before a particular class session started, and I really do not remember how it came up, one of my students told me she thought I was tough when I grade. It was not said in protest or complaint, just an honest statement.

“I’m always willing to listen to students. I have made many changes over the years based on student input,” I said. “Tell me how you feel my grading is unfair. Perhaps you have picked up on something of which I am not aware”.

“I did not say your grading was unfair,” responded the student, “I just said you were tough. You are probably more attuned to the things you should be, the things other teachers may not be. You probably grade it more accurately than I would grade myself”. The student then went on to add that she enjoyed the class and was glad she took it with me. A few of the other students who were there agreed.

Was this trying to butter me up for a good grade? Perhaps, although I really don’t think so. The student was able to tell me exactly what I said in my critique of her speech and why I said it got the grade it did. Still, I guess it is good for the ego to hear such comments and perhaps, subconsciously that plays into the way you grade.

I know it was not that long ago when I was a student (my student may disagree saying it has been ages but it really was not that long ago). There were times I took a professor because I enjoyed his/her style even though I know the individual was a tough grader. Honestly, there were other times I took a particular teacher because I knew I could get an ‘A’.

If I am building up a reputation as a tough grader who is worth taking for Public Speaking, not only can I live with that but I embrace that moniker.