Saturday, September 03, 2011

Climbing Mount St. Rubric


Peet's makes better coffee.

I'm addicted to Starbucks, though.  Not for what you'd think--caffeine--but for the opportunity to sit and grade papers for hours at a time on a single cup of tea.

I can't really grade at home.  I have an entire routine where I bring the papers home, then back to school, then home again and never get much farther than the first paragraph of the first essay.  There are too many distractions in the house, too many to-dos needing a do-er.  My chores never get more attention than when I'm exhibiting the avoidance behavior that comes in the week after I collect essays.

Today the kids were gone but I knew staying home wasn't going to cut it.  I have a bad head cold that was enough to defeat the high hopes I had for grading after lunch.  When I woke from my phlegmy nap at 3:30 I realized I needed to high-tail it to the 'Bucks if I was going to get anything done.  If I stayed home I was going to back to bed for approximately 86 hours.

Instead, for four and a half hours I graded.  Time doesn't seem to pass the same way if I can sip on Zen tea and listen to my headphones.  I'm able to shut out the world; customers provide a momentary distraction if I need one, but not a full enough diversion to pull me from my work.  I grade better if I can do a full batch at once.  There's something about holding the full rubric and knowledge of each paper in my head that makes the task more thorough.

I've never been a I'll grade ten papers a night kind of teacher.  (Just like I'm not a I'll read one chapter a night reader.)  It's all or nothing with PDawg... most nights that means nothing.

These marathon coffee shop days are enjoyable, though.  Today Pandora's Mumford and Sons radio station was getting it all kinds of right.  I had a good pen.  I made lots of comments.  The tea was not too hot or too cold.  I got the good chair and--once I needed a change of posture--then the booth.

I tore through five class sets of essays in one sitting.  Finished my summer work.  Graded an autobiographical essay I just collected in my freshman classes yesterday.  (Seriously, I never grade anything the day after it's due.)  Scored my AP kids' first timed write.

I feel like I am queen of the world right now.  Grading papers is the pits, but for five minutes after you're done you get to feel like you climbed Mount Everest.

1 comment:

  1. Reading these posts from you inspire me! It makes me think "Hey, I could clean the entire kitchen" or "I could write a book in one sitting." Okay, maybe just the first one.