Recently, ProfHacker Nels has written about how we in higher education respond to grading student work, often as being in “grading jail.” (See also this morning’s follow-up.) But unlike being in lockdown in a maximum security prison, we do have some leeway in how we spend our time in grading jail’s minimum security, club fed.
OK, I’ve exhausted that metaphor.
We can grade student work in any kind of scenario that we wish, almost. We can create the kind of space that is comfortable for us and helps us be productive. For example, depending on how complex the student work is, I can grade while listening to old episodes of Law & Order. I’ve seen each of the shows multiple times, and I’m not surprised by what happens. I don’t need to watch McCoy skewer the witness at the end of the show or to know that the good guys will win. The characters are familiar; it’s familiar noise. Or, if I need more concentration to understand what student’s have produced, I’ll go to a local Starbucks and grade there. In Starbucks, the music is fairly generic, I know many of the other patrons (at least casually), and I’m left alone to do my work. I also get to drink their coffee. The last place I’ll grade is in my office, as I’m too distracted by the computer or by interruptions from students and colleagues. And in my case, the office is very dark, so it’s hard to read in there.
So how about you? What is your grading space like? Is it like jail, or have you made it comfortable for yourself? What kind of scenario do you use when you grade? If you listen to music, what do you listen to when you are grading? Explain your comfort requirements for grading in comments below.
[Image by Flickr user Kim Piper Werker, and used under the Creative Commons license.]