One of the amusing things about being an instructor at the college level is that I have to not only assign tasks, but also grade the work that comes in with a degree of organization, focused feedback, and justification. Currently, I have 6 classes which need grading, and I have more than a “tad” left to grade. When discussing problems that the students face, procrastination is the number one given, followed by writer’s block and grammar. I challenge, pry, beg, and whatever it takes to get the student to work through whatever issues they need to address before finally turning my attention to the task of grading. Grading can be extremely quick, if I didn’t care about offering feedback to the students. The adage “Don’t write a paper that sucks” isn’t helpful because it doesn’t specify what sucks, and to what extent, and how much it will affect their “grade”.
Unfortunately, I’m uncertain how many are worried about the “quality” of their work, as opposed to the “grade” or payoff. I have go-getter students who work extremely hard, digging out information, taking advantage of tutoring, asking questions, engaging themselves fully in the task at hand. Then there are the ones who put it off until the last moment or don’t listen to instructions, don’t ask questions, and then get upset at the grade they receive. I “should” have explained it “better”. Whew.
Teaching is an art, a performance art, a living art, and the work we ultimately create is co-operational. Success hinges on the student involvement.
Support groups for teachers out there? I think we must channel the inner energy of the muse, in order to safely steer our students down the river Styx without paying off Charon, and convince him to let them off at the next stop, not the final destination.
Grading procrastination for instructors? Oh yes, it does exist, Virginia. And we don’t get milk and cookies.