Posted in Philosophies, Projects

Emoticons about Grading, Part I 👊

Teaching Philosophy 👨‍🎓 GWENRE 👩‍🎓

I have this grading technique called GWENRE.
It’s my grading philosophy.
It’s also like the 🤯 word GENRE, but with a 🦆ing “W” in it.

G rade to
E ncourage individual growth,
N ormalizing only the minimum requirements for the course.
W rite clear notes that make sense to the student, then
R eview those notes individually, in groups, as a class; &
E ducate your students with your grading process,
rather than handing assignments back and “moving on,”
like the learning hadn’t taken us somewhere worth exploring.

When you’re a teacher with 😱 and 😰,
it can be difficult to grade with so much idealism.

Grading takes more out of you than it should;
But listen, 🧙‍♂️ & 🧚‍♀️: it’s still possible to re-frame this.

If you don’t believe me, consider this quote:

And I don’t know; maybe there are 👩‍🏫👨‍🏫 who went into teaching
because they thought it would be 🎉🎉 to earn a decent living
with an awesome schedule and 🕒😎 off.

After all, 🚨🚨 of the teachers in my state quit
within the first five years, so I assume it didn’t 🎢🎠 in some way.

But most of us became teachers because we 🧡💙 teaching.
Because we feel 💞💞 to teach
and, at least in my case, 💔💔 imagine any other job
bringing us the joy we find in the 👨‍🎓👩‍🎓.

No teacher who is “in it for the 💸💸”
would 📚📚 more than a year,
unless he or she was 💫💫 to do anything else.

And that’s the 🚨🚨, isn’t it?
Due to low pay, lack of respect, and unreasonable demands,
there are extreme teacher shortages in a lot of places.

Which means that you can practically 💫💫 off the street
and get yourself hired as the 👩‍🏫👨‍🏫,
regardless of your ability to either do or teach 👨‍🎓👩‍🎓.

Teaching can be a “🚨🚨” profession because,
even if nobody else will 💸💸 you,
a school will probably 📚📚 out of desperation.

And every time a veteran teacher says, “I’m not in it for the 💸💸,”
they’re buying into a 💔💔 system
that accepts 💫💫 by offering 🚨🚨 pay.

& various other 💩 all over the Internet,
about how teachers are underpaid, so that we 🤮, and we 🤡;

you can reframe your grading by skipping that 👿 place,
as much as I wish it were a 🤓 place,

& instead focusing on the extended conversation
between you, the teacher, and the student, who’s relying on your support.

Workview 😅 Respectfully Disagree, Part I 😏

But if we’re going to use K-12 education as a measure of how effective we’ll be in college, graduate school, or work, (all of which are potential fallacies, but now’s not the time for Pandora’s Box), then we need a grading system with some serious backbone to it,
thus Common Core,
thus standardized exams,
blah etc. blah.

Believe it or not, I respect this.

It’s neat to critically think about the education-society relationship
and what it says about greater values
within our 21st century community.

I respect this, and that’s why I have to
meticulously design my curriculum,

like a choreographer, dancing between
course requirements and teaching philosophies

to fulfill those standards,
while also keeping the love for learning alive,

and we don’t get paid for those choreographing hours.
Like… at all.

Thus teachers complain about grading,
loathe the extra labor,

socially die in 80-hour work weeks,
blah etc. blah, and society says,

“We get it; it’s a hot mess.
Someone should seriously look into fixing it.”

In the meantime, as a part-time educator—
which is a 500% saner a profession,

although my bills are tight—I’ve always thought,
grading can’t take the brunt of all this;

we can’t turn grading into a cauldron of hatred,
into the education industry’s latest dung-beetle-storm,

just because the top 2% have found a way to corrupt
the current educational system so deeply,

designed this ineffective juggernaut
of a standardized examination system,

then left the public opinion
frothing like angry wolves,

until everyone was distracted
by the sudden brilliance of a Celebrity President
and they turned to look the other away;

they turned to look the other way;

but we can’t let grading take the brunt of this:
I’ve watched too many colleagues turn

the grading process into negative-thinking
number-crunching about how they can

bury a student under 2% of incorrectness.
I’ve attended “normalizing sessions”

where graduate students argue
with adjunct professors and full-time faculty

about why one college essay is a passing portfolio,
and the other one requires the student to repeat

repeat
repeat
history’s same mistakes, and

grading can’t take the brunt of this;
how to build a bridge between

a student who craves the right learning,
how to build a bridge between

that student and the teacher,
the teacher who has standards meet,

the teacher who has a soul that feeds
off the joy of mentorship;

the teacher who has learning and emotional needs
as much as the businessmen, cash clerks and parents,

veterinarians and beekeepers
all reading newspapers at the Fresno Train Station
together;

grading shouldn’t lose its purpose
as the delicate, science fiction instrument

that fine-tunes the mentor’s choreographics
with precious data, that assessment

where the student the teacher knows in real life
and the student the administration wants to assess

is cradled gently, on a cloud,
like on a puff of air,

between so many different variables,
never dismantling the child for the sake of ease.

Watching Right Now 😎 Answers with Joe 😄

The DNA computers at 6:45 was crazy interesting. 🤩


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Author:

Kourtnie McKenzie holds an MFA (Fiction) from Fresno State and a BA in English (Literature Studies) from Cal State Fullerton. When she isn't writing novellas, she's moonlighting as a professor at Fresno City College and College of the Sequoias. To read more of her writing, visit en.gravatar.com/kourtnie.

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