despatch from the grading front

I must have been drinking time-release coffee this evening or something. I've been pretty heavily caffeinated the past few days and it's just going to get worse over the next week. And I have a high caffeine tolerance anyway, so I frequently drink tea or coffee at night with no disturbance of my sleep. Well, tonight the coffee wasn't working -- I was fuzzy headed and nodding off at 10:30 and so I actually went to bed at 11:30 thinking I'd have to get up super early in order to get the exams finished. (Because I was too busy dealing with pre-moving arrangements this morning to make much grading progress.) Well, at 12:18 I decided I was tired but too awake to really sleep, so I got up. And now I'm 2/3 of the way through. So that is a huge relief -- I was beginning to wonder if the Procrastination Demon would score some truly evil victory this time around.

However, I'm breaking all my usual habits by grading in my pajamas (I didn't think I'd stay up -- I really thought 20 minutes of grading would put me right to sleep). It feels kind of ickily intimate to be handling blue books while wearing pajamas (even though I'm on the couch not in the bed). I did have a clip board on my lap, though, to maintain some separation. I know these distinctions are realy just all in my head -- what I would normally wear to grade in would be sweats and a t-shirt -- and my pajamas are not much different, just lighter fabric. But it's a category violation. Pjs are for sleeping, sweats are for working.

Best "new" word from the exams: drippling. As in, "the blood drippling through the ceiling". Somehow seems much more evocative than plain old dripping.

And, did you know that "the upper classes were very stuck up and snobbery in the 19th century"?

When I was a student, I was extremely conscious of all of my interactions with my professors. I didn't want to be seen as sucking up in any way, or demanding extra time from them. So there was no way in hell I ever would have written a friendly little note at the end of my exam. (Like, "I really liked this class and will be in your class next year!" or "Thanks for a great last semester!" ) And now, as a professor, I try not to allow such little notes to influence my grading in any way. They're nearly always from students who are in the top range anyway. But stumbling across one of those little notes feels like spotting wildflowers in a big field. A nice little reminder of the people behind the blue books, the personalities and minds I've been in contact with for several months. Otherwise reading exams is mostly a big blur.