As I looked through the posts on listserv this week, there wasn’t much that interested me until a post about the amount of time teachers should spend commenting on their students papers. The woman who posted felt that throughout her teaching career, she has been taking too much time commenting on her student’s papers. Her post triggered a significant amount of replies as it is definitely a hot topic for all teachers dealing with grading papers. I enjoyed the posts suggesting that she should start doing audio comments and give those to her teachers. I couldn’t help but laugh at this suggestion as I couldn’t really picture myself listening to my teacher’s audio recordings every time I got a paper back. I also really couldn’t see the majority of my teacher’s setting up an audio system that would record them talking about their students papers. Some of my professors can hardly figure out how to work their cellphone, I couldn’t imagine seeing them try to figure this out. I do think that eventually technology will start to play a major role in
teachers commenting on teachers, but at this present moment I just can’t see it happening. It is definitely
something that I look forward to seeing in the future though.
Let me get back to the main point of why I chose this article. Throughout my academic career I have had the opportunity to experience both the good and the bad when it comes to teachers commenting on my academic papers. I have had teachers who just simply gave me a letter grade after I had
poured my blood, sweat, and tears into a ten page research paper for a week that consisted of very little sleep. Teachers like that were the ones who I questioned whether they had even read the paper and if they were just waiting for their paycheck at the end of the week. I have also received papers back where teachers absolutely destroyed my writing in their comments. Comments like these made me question whether I even really belonged in school or not. The teachers’ comments that taught me the most about writing were the ones that showed they truly cared about helping me become a better overall writer. Their comments were for the most part positive, instructive and extremely clear. They illustrated what I had done right, what I had done wrong, and how I could improve on my next paper. I’m sure other students have very similar experiences to mine.
I think teachers need to find a happy medium where they aren’t writing too much on a student’s papers, that the student won’t read the comments because they are overwhemled, but that they also aren’t just simply giving the student a letter grade with no explanation for it. The best way for a student to learn how to become a better writer is by understanding his strengths and weaknesses in their writing and how to improve. Effective comments go a long way in helping a student significantly grow as a writer.
This topic immediately made me think of the scene in “A Christmas Story” where the teacher is grading her student’s papers right before Christmas vacation.
This blog is a reactionary overview of the daily posts to the Writing Program Administrator's listserv. One day; one blogger; lots of reactions.