Midterm Blues

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Fiona:
I'm about to start writing, and next week, grading midterm exams, and it's always a rather depressing task.

There's always that "I taught them that, but they didn't learn it" feeling.

And yes, of course most of them learned it--or at lot of it, whatever it was--but the really bad ones take a toll on one's spirits.

I thought I'd vent here and open a thread so others could do the same. No solution, but whining is sometimes good for the soul.

[%sig%]

CC adjunct:
It's always sad to see students do so poorly, but there are ways to approach is so it doesn't hurt so much.  One way is to focus on what they did well.  I like to focus on the success of students that have been working very hard or struggling.  I love looking at an exam and seeing that a student that thought they 'bombed it' actually did really well.  Also, there's often questions that students do better on than I would expect, and that's always nice to see.  Sometimes, though, grading tests can be heartbreaking.  I see students do poorly on an exam, simply because they were sick or having family problems.  It helps to know why a student is doing well or poorly, and the exams don't bother me as much as they bother some people since my classes are small enough for me to know the trials and tribulations of all my students.

Visiting ass't. prof.:
Sometimes, I need to take a step back and think about how difficult it was for me to learn the things I now take for granted.  It took a long time for me to adjust to college-level work.  There was no one course that magically transformed me.  Rather, it was a long, slow, uphill climb all the way.  Perhaps you won't see all that much of a difference between a first-year student at the beginning of the semester and that same student at the end of the semester, but if you teach that student again as a junior or a senior, there will be an enormous difference.

E. F.:
I think one of the factors contributing to the annual Spring semester depression is the evil practice called Spring Break. We get students right where we want them to be at mid-semester, and then we all take a week off so they can forget everything they have learned.

And, of course, Spring Break is no longer one week long. Who even bothers to hold class the Friday before Spring Break? Who expects anyone to show up the Monday following Spring Break?

Then once we all come back, there is still half a semester to go.

Alas. The world is a swirling, sucking eddy of despair. Where’s my Sylvia Plath collection? Who stole my Kool-Aid?

instructor:
So that people show up the monday after mid winter break (that is what it is in the northern climes), I have an assignment due or an exam. usually works.

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