Friday, December 18, 2009

Another semester ends

Put it in the books, as the New York Mets announcers would say after an all too rare win. The fall 2009 semester is now over, with the exception of grading.

That would be a pretty big exception to how over it feels if I had exams to grade. Nearly all law professors will agree, I think, that grading exams is BY FAR the worst part of our jobs (although writing exams isn't that much fun either). Our working conditions are good in many respects, but one difference between us and, say, people in some liberal arts areas is that we generally must do all of our grading ourselves - no handing it off to teaching assistants and the like.

But this semester I taught a seminar in which the students were required to write short papers, rather than taking an exam. So I now have 24 papers to grade. The great thing is, they are on 20 or more different topics, with only very limited overlap. I am hoping they'll be interesting and good (the students' oral presentations had promise), but at a minimum the soul-deadening experience of reading answers to the same question again and again and again - while needing to distinguish between them for grading purposes - is something I will get to miss this time around.

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