Friday, February 16, 2007

the question of undergraduate essays

So, I have a stack of 70 midterm exams to grade, which I have to say that I have made somewhat of a dent into already - I have graded 30. However, as I move forward with grading it becomes ever more difficult and I start to feel like I am stuck knee-deep in mud. In all honesty, they all start to sound the same.
In order to respect my students and do the fairest job possible - I need to stop every once in awhile and swig another glass of wine (ok, so like every 3 exams). Otherwise, I end up hating all of my students, and their poor excuses for essay writing. Not that I don't have my own struggles with writing (you will witness it yourself in this blog) - but since when does rehashing exactly what the Professor says in lecture constitute independent and critical thinking?
This class that I am the TA for is called the Question of Public Space, and JD and I (JD is the Prof) have been trying to get students to question and challenge the dominant functions of space. These kids are so resistant. I don't know if it is the homogenous environment of Orange County or the comfort of their Ford Explorers that keeps them so content and quiet in their surroundings. Anyway - JD is an amazing Prof, and she and I have similar thoughts about the composition of public space and its problems - as well as strategies for resistance.
More about that soon.

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