Thursday, December 10, 2009

Obstacle Courses & Course Obstacles

Even though I gave myself 45 minutes to get to the university from my apartment, I was still late for the portfolio reading.

I didn't waste any time either; I stopped for a latte but didn't dawdle.

But unfortunately, arriving at the university I made the mistake of turning down Harpst Street, which has temporarily become a one-way road while construction is going on.

On such a busy morning, at such a busy time, the construction crew in its wisdom decided to back a semi down that road to unload something, effectively trapping the cars in place for a full 15 minutes.

How frustrating to attend and work at a university with so little regard for the business that is actually supposed to be taking place there -- learning and teaching!
  • They are constructing new dorms in the site where once there was parking, so now there is even less parking than ever.

  • New dorms, when freshman and transfer admissions have been capped early and low for the spring.

  • New construction when teachers and all employees have been required to furlough all semester.
Today must have been the most well-attended day in the semester because there was no parking anywhere. I drove around looking for something, to no avail. I finally had to park waaaay down on 14th Street and hike the long, long uphill distance to Founders Hall.

I wasn't even all the way up B Street when I heard the bell tolling the hour.

Legs aching, face red with exertion, breathing hard --- and late; that is how I arrived to the portfolio reading.

This day we were to read our own students' portfolios, and assign scores from 0 to 6, based on a strict rubric. We were "normed" ahead of time through reading sample portfolios representing each of those scores. This was to ensure we agreed on a standard of university-level writing.

It was awful at first, but then I found my groove and it became just a task, like any task.

As a new teacher, I struggled with self-doubt-- about my judgment, my objectivity and my fairness. This task was so very different from my usual work of encouraging developing writers to improve, revise, go deeper, try harder; this was simply passing judgment on a final product.

After several hours, I had fulfilled my task of reading the 21 portfolios from my students, filled out all the forms, dotted Is and crossed Ts.

Then I asked the composition director how many there would be for us (all) to read tomorrow, when all the composition faculty will gather for a long and grueling day of reading.

About 700, she said. 700?!

Wish us luck.

1 comment:

steviewren said...

You are going to need super strength stamina as well as luck to get through all of those reviews! I would think that it would be hard not to let student's work run together in your head. Good luck!