Friday, September 2, 2011

I may stop teaching papers.

My contract has been moved from the English department to the department that runs the online course program. The good part of this is that I got a $200/class taught raise.

The bad side is that the contract went from 1 page detailing what I was being paid to do (teach two courses/semester) to 3 pages, detailing how I was supposed to teach. One section in particular tells me how I will do my grading:

2.1.1. posts constructive and substantive feedback and grade points on written assignments, exams, and discussion forum activity within seventy-two hours of the due date.

Um...I don't know about anyone else teaching a writing class, but I cannot grade fifty papers in 72 hours. It takes me about 20 minutes to grade one paper. That means three papers per hour. I'd have to grade 17 papers per day to be able to do what they're demanding. That's almost six hours of grading alone, and that doesn't count checking e-mail and class site for questions, answering questions, grading blogs, discussion threads, cooking, eating, sleeping, changing diapers, feeding baby (which necessitates being unable to use one hand for a minimum of 15 minutes--unless she falls asleep, which means if I move before she wakes up...she wakes up)...you know, living.

I can grade blogs decently quickly. With substantive feedback, even. Papers are a totally different matter, and for some reason, the kids that write spectacularly well on the blogs often don't with the papers.

The requirements for the composition classes I teach are simple: I am required to assign and grade 5,500 words of work per class per semester. My papers meet that requirement handily. I could assign and grade fewer papers and still meet that standard.

The blogs outstrip it so far that it's not funny: my 101 class writes 13,500 words per semester in the blogs alone. My 102 class writes 15,000 words.

It really doesn't seem worth it to teach the papers.

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