Friday, May 9, 2008

Almost There

Reached an important milestone -- made it through the last pile of exams. I'll still be crunching numbers and doing other grading stuff all weekend (and I still have four term papers to read), but it's a big moment. I was singing "Zip-a-dee-do-dah" as I started preparing the spreadsheet.

As bad as grading is -- and it's really bad -- it does have the redeeming aspect that the task is relatively clear. Most of a professor's life is a plunge into the unknown. In the most important part, scholarship, there is no clear goal, no easy way to tell what topic to take up next, no obvious set of tasks to do each day. Of course that's what makes the job so great, but it can also be daunting. So although grading is painful, particularly when you have 144 exams and have to grade 10 to 14 hours a day, day after day, it's refreshing to have such a clearly defined task to do for a change. I'm definitely not volunteering for more, but, with the exams safely shelved for another year, I can see some slight pleasure in knowing what I'm supposed to do.

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