This week, I am drowning in student papers. To give myself a break between one bad paper and the next, I came up with a list of the things I hate more than grading. It's pretty short:

1. Needles.

I'm a fainter. The woman who draws my blood at the doctor's office when I have to have it done says that I have the smallest, trickiest veins she's ever seen. Thus, attempting to put anything into or take anything out of these slippery little suckers often leads to fainting on my part. Perhaps so I can just check out and avoid the whole process.

2. Insects.

Why do they always go for eyes, noses, and mouths? I got back from class the other day and idly rubbed the eye booger crusty stuff out of the inside corner my eye and out came a bug. The gunk was actually a bug. I was so icked out. How long had he been in there? What the heck was he doing? Did he put up a condo and lay in a garden? Did he leave behind friends or children or neighbors? AND, more importantly, did anybody see this colonizing bug setting up shop in MY EYE and just not say anything because they thought I KNEW he was moving into the neighborhood??!!@#??

3. Emotional Ambushes.

Those are the things that happen when you think everthing is OK, but it really isn't, but you had NO CLUE that it wasn't ok, and you suddenly get informed of this at the worst possible time in a way that gives you absolutely no warning about what is coming and no way out once it all begins.

4. My Dissertation.

Yep. I'd rather grade that write my dissertation. I really hate that fucker right now.

5. .... Um.....???

I couldn't even think of 5 things. I hate grading so much there are only 4 other things in this whole world I like less.

How about you? What do you hate more than grading?


At 12:12 AM Anonymous said...

Faculty meetings... (better keep this anonymous)

At 10:05 AM HistGrad said...

Great question! Well, my dissertation tops my list, that's for sure. But, thinking about my past week... I've graded in order to avoid the following (so it stands to reason I hate these things more than grading):

1. Sending those last few e-mails on my "to do" list, you know the things that keep getting moved from one to-do list to the next, but just never seem to get done.
2. Prune my front shrub. But now that it's fall, I don't think I should prune it. I don't know why I think that, but it just doesn't seem fair to the poor thing to prune it back within an inch of its life right before winter.
3. Deal with those icky veggies that are sitting in the bottom of the crisper drawer growing mold or something similarly slimy.

What will be next? We'll see... since I'm getting midterms starting on Thursday.

At 3:03 PM Dr. Mon said...

Grading may be the thing I hate most. Love giving feedback--HATE grading. Four things I might hate as much as grading:

1. Writing Cover Letters
2. Washing Dishes
3. Going to Walmart
4. I-81

At 4:19 PM jo(e) said...

A job search.

Major Surgery.

Kidney Stones.

Dentist Visit.


At 6:53 PM Pilgrim/Heretic said...

For me? Pretty much nothing. The only time my house really gets clean (toilets scrubbed, weeds whacked, spiderwebs vacuumed from the corners) is when I've run out of other ways to keep from grading.

At 10:06 PM Suz said...

I cannot say I grade things, put for me---what is worse than going to work?

Scooping up the bird that hit the window and died three days ago and that the dog has adopted as his pet.

Scooping up the mouse dried to a mummy off the garage floor and then his tail comes off.

Pretty much scooping up anything dead. I'll trade refrig or toilet cleaning any day to dead stuff.

The rest is a joy!

At 10:42 PM Scrivener said...

Yeah, my list would have to go the direction of jo(e)'s: major medical hardship. I'm trying to think of something in the realm of the everyday that's worse than grading and not coming up with anything. I'd much rather scrub toilets than grade, that's for sure.

Nope, I'm really not coming up with anything. A year ago, my dissertation would've been that list, but nowadays I'd even rather work on the diss than grade essays.

At 12:18 PM Suz said...

Another damn mouse this morning :-(

At 2:10 PM Scrivener said...

Given that grading is, well, a fundamental part of the job, how is it that I can hate it as much as I do and still love my job as much as I do? Can you explain that to me?

At 1:50 PM Stewgad said...

I try to deny that grading is fundamental to my job -- thanks for pointing this out. Shit.

If I think of it as something that only happens SOMEtimes in my job, as opppsed to ALL the time, then somehow, that makes it better. Denial. Yep. That's my motto.

And, why is it that grading is so awful? Because we have to read tortured sentences about how the Salem Witches were in congress with Satin? Or about how the time called Early America is thought of as Early America? (paraphrases from my recent assignments). Or is it that it is so uncomfortable to make judgements and assign values to the work or others?

Either way, I've got a ton to do...

At 8:35 AM Scrivener said...

Sorry to burst the denial bubble!

I often wonder to myself, or to anyone who will listen, why it is so terrible. I don't think it's the really stupid sentences and poor grammar and spelling mistakes and such. I think at least for me a major part of it is that reading the essays makes me aware of how really clueless so many of my students are--that they still don't even understand what an argument might look like or what an interesting claim might be. We've spent weeks reading smart texts, having smart discussions of them in class when I am mostly asking the questions, but then they turn to write an essay and all they produce is a list of extremely obvious observations with no point to it at all. So not only is it boring, it makes me wonder if there is any hope for them at all. Which makes the whole job feel so pointless and painful, and makes me wonder if the pleasure of being in the classroom and the feeling that there are lightbulbs going off sometimes isn't all just a total fake.

Grading seems to bring out my pessimism more than any other activity.

At 11:53 AM Seeking Solace said...

Great Question: Here goes...

1. My philosophy of teaching statement. (See my blog to understand why)

2. Lawyer advertising (I am a former attorney)

3. When the coffee machine in the faculty room is broken.

At 6:47 PM Teresa said...

1. Food poisoning-- particularly the vomitting out of both ends at the same time.
2. Giving birth.
3. Being pregnant. I don't like it in the beginning. The middle months are okay. By the end of it you just want to stangle the "impregnator" (Oooh, I like that word).
4. Tension headaches with no hope of a cure.
5. Cacti. My mother-in-law has them all over her house and they love to attach themselves to my flesh. Not the prickers.. but the whole plant. It's kind of awkward.

At 12:28 AM Anonymous said...

I absolute hate grading so much that I am researching a blog such as this to vent my hate of grading. I mean how many freaking papers can I assign and then grade? Am I a sick, twisted f or what? And then, these college students only look at the end of papers for the grade and my comments continue to be futile year in and out! How can I stop this vicious cycle of grading. I see no wait out! Then my dissertation proposal-- I hate it and cannot even get to it with this hateful grading. E-mail at if anyone has an answer to this. Truly, I am a happy go-lucky person but have lost my sense of self amidst these endless piles of papers.

At 8:37 PM Victoria Barrett said...

Scrivener's last comment is sooooo true. Also, I feel like the last six weeks of my life, at least in the classroom, have been a total waste of time, as the students have clearly learned next to nothing.

So instead, here are five things I like more than grading, even though I shouldn't:

1. Going to the dentist.
2. Ripping the nasty stained carpet out of the second floor of our house before we moved in. (Okay. I only had to do that once. But if there was some nasty carpet to rip out, I'd go do it right now instead of grading.)
3. Going to the gym (and I really, really hate the gym).
4. Talking on the phone to my pessimistic and self-obsessed mother.
5. Ironing clothes.

At 6:46 PM Maritime Gypsy said...

I thought this was just me...
calling my mother... I dislike that more than grading, it reminds me why I moved out of town for work and am currently grading...

this blog is getting bookmarked :)

At 5:36 PM Anonymous said...

Unless I were in physical pain, grief, severe emotional hardship or dire financial straits, there is NOTHING I hate more than grading.

I hate the sheer volume of it.
I hate that my comments are very rarely the impetus to a change in writing style.
I hate that a high school senior can think so little of education that he/she would even think to hand in two paragraphs as an assignment.
I hate that it makes me question my profession.
I hate that I am expected to assign 20 essays a year to my 150 students. That would mean grading 3000 papers in approximately 10 months.
300 papers a month, not counting tests and quizzes. Does anyone else see something wrong with the whole educational system here?


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