These were my symptoms yesterday: slurred speech, impaired judgment, delayed mental response time, and then I crashed. Yes, I finally finished all my grading. I did not drink, although I understand the concept of being "driven to drink." I wish someone would do a longitudinal study on the effects of grading freshman work versus the effects of drinking; the results would probably be surprising to many.
What have the last few days held for me? Hours of seemingly endless agony, tempered only slightly by hot tea and chocolate. There was a brief diversion, though--a note from a student. College freshmen, at least the classes of '10 and '11, have an apparent oblivion to tone. This, I believe, was one such instance.
To backtrack momentarily, I have a policy that allows anybody to revise an essay for a possible higher grade if they take the essay to the writing center. It could create more work for me, and it does a little, but few people actually take it up. It's voluntary, so the onus is on them if they want it. One student apparently found it a burden to do so. In a note attached to an unrevised essay, he informed me that he "did not have time" to go to the writing center, as he was going on vacation to a warm sunny state. Curious, I read on. He wanted me to re-read the paper because he already made one set of improvements based on my feedback on his rough draft, and it still got the unworthy grade of a C.
Last note of the letter, before he signed his name, he asked that I reconsider my grade, as he believes I may have been "over-critical" in my grading.
How did I respond? With it being so late into my grading mad dash and given my already mellow temperament, my response was, "Huh." My colleagues at the writing center were much more indignant over it than I was. They saw it as flagrant disrespect, and it could have been, but honestly, I've seen enough freshman behavior to lead me to conclude that they just don't know how they come across. Where that comes from, I don't know, but we seem to have a generation that doesn't understand how to adjust communication styles for different situations; it results in incidents like this one (same student, different paper, not surprisingly).
Ah well. The semester's over and grades are in. I left the grade as it was.