June 5, 2006

Welcome to the new week.

How are you doing? Just starting a vacation, maybe? Embarking on an exciting new job? Congratulations! Me, I've just reached the day when the deadlines are kicking in. I've taken the pile of exams out of the drawer where they've been aging, like a fine cheese, for about one month. I have actually completely forgotten what the questions on the exam are. But the deadline is Friday, and it will be met. You can't put the exams in a drawer for a month and then not meet the deadline, especially if you're going to be cheeky enough to compare them to a fine cheese, in writing, on line. I've got three other obligations to meet this week, and I hope to interweave these projects with the exam-grading in some deft, energizing way. Will there be blogging too? Yes, blogging will occur. I will blog in the spaces to moderate the pressure. But I need this pressure. I've been waiting for it. This is the week.

26 comments:

MadisonMan said...

A mention of cheese on a Dairy State blog? Alice in Dairyland will thank you. Your shipment of limburger is in the mail.

Public schools are still in session, so my summer schedule doesn't start 'til next week, when the kids start sleeping in and I can go into work early. I feel guilty waking up when the Sun's been up for 2 hours already. The most productive time of the day is between 5 and 7 AM.

Ann Althouse said...

Between 5 and 7 am is a great time, if you wake up naturally. It's truly free time, invented time. A good time for blogging.

Ann Althouse said...

Oh, see? I did the post at 6:08 and here I am commenting on it at 8:40. The deadline panic has got to start working!

Joe said...

Kick into frenzy mode and crank it out. Let's hope the exams aren't as stinky as the fine aged cheese.

Joe Baby said...

You could always put the exams back in the drawer until Friday, then remove them and head to a stairwell near you...

knoxgirl said...

embarking on an exciting new job?

yes! My last day at my job was May 31 and as of this week I am officially freelancing. Change is good... that's what I keep telling myself, anyway!

Kev said...

So are these exams left over from the spring semester? Your school (or maybe it's law school in general?) must operate quite differently from mine; my spring grades had to be recorded three days after the semester ended. (Granted, I teach mostly music ensembles, so our attendance-based grades take very little time to calculate, but the professors in more traditional subjects are bound by this deadline as well.)

Ann Althouse said...

Kev: A lawprof might have over 100 essay exams to read, each of which is the only thing to be graded for the whole semester, representing the student's entire grade. This, along with the fact that a lawprof often has other obligations and deadlines during the same period, is the reason for the relatively long deadline. The deadline could be shorter, admittedly. Traditionally, there has been a problem of some lawprofs not meeting the deadline, so shortening the deadline might just make that problem worse. Personally, I meet the deadlines -- absent a death in the family or serious illness -- but I don't hand the grades in early.

Matt said...

Tonight I'm taking my last practice lsat before the big day. Wish me luck!

Dawn said...

So Ann, when do the students in your classes receive their grades? My finals (albeit RN courses) were nearly a month ago, and it took 10 days for my grades to post.

Just wondering. My husband is a Badger alum, so I'm somewhat familiar UW.

Ann Althouse said...

Bunker, the deadlne to submit the grades is Friday, but they have to be processed after that. I don't know what that time line is.

DJ Master Flash said...

Prof Althouse,

I don't understand why you kept the finals in your drawer until the last week before they are due. What was so pressing that you procrastinated on the only factor by which your students are graded? It seems to me that it would have been more worthwile to have graded the tests immediately following the final (approximately a week or so) so the question and focus of the class was fresh in your mind. Speaking as a former student, it is a frustrating time constantly checking grades for weeks on end and receiving none.

The final grades should be completed within a week or two of the final. Taking a month to grade exams is completely out of the question. Does it matter if you have to grade 100 exams? I think as a service to your students you should expedite the process rather than dragging out the agony.

Ann Althouse said...

DJ: I graded one of my courses and then wanted a space between grading them. But also I had two writing projects with deadlines, a conference to attend, my sons were in town for a limited time, and some other things. Admittedly, if the deadline was different, I would have arranged my affairs differently.

Joe Baby said...

Disagree -- kinda nice that it takes several weeks for grades to be posted. Gives us time to get away from the stress and inanity of law school. We spend far too much time worrying about grades as is -- so I appreciate having the interim to disappear and not fret.

LoafingOaf said...

Disagree -- kinda nice that it takes several weeks for grades to be posted. Gives us time to get away from the stress and inanity of law school. We spend far too much time worrying about grades as is -- so I appreciate having the interim to disappear and not fret.

There's a good side to having to wait for the grades, but some of my professors didn't come close to meeting the generous deadline and it felt like indifference to what was at stake for us. The way my school did things for the year-long first-year courses was that we got two separate grades for each class, one for each semester. If you did poorly on a first semester exam you were stuck with it on your transcript no matter how well you did the second semester (if you flunked there'd be no second semester). Obviously some people had to reconsider going on at all based on their first semester grades. This didn't mean much to my contracts prof. He was known for difficult exams and an insistance on giving lower grades than any other professor, and we were new to law exams and didn't have a feel for how we performed. Yet that SOB made us wait until the second semester was under way before we found out. Most of us may have been irrationally pessimistic, but really sucked!

LoafingOaf said...

But it really sucked, I meant.

Kirk Parker said...

" But I need this pressure."

Ahhhhhh. This is why I come here so often, and find your writing so congenial. You understand how life works! :-)

I can still remember your quote from some time back: "Me and deadlines--we have a very close relationship."

thatdamnhawaiin said...

So the question of the hour is: Did Prof. Althouse make the deadline?

Ann Althouse said...

A deadline isn't the beginning of the day, it's the end. And midnight Friday is the same as 7:59 Monday, correct?

Ann Althouse said...

In other words, I'm working on it.

thatdamnhawaiin said...

thanks for the update, I'll stop checking my grades every 10 minutes till monday then.
:)
Hopefully the jokes i made in the exam aged as well as that fine cheese.

Ann Althouse said...

Well, there's quite a time gap between when the profs hand in the grades and when they're processed to the point where you can see them. Since they bunch up on the deadline, the processing will take a while. Some schools have a day when all the grades go up. You know when the day is coming and you have to look at them all at once. Would that be better?

thatdamnhawaiin said...

I like the trickle actually. It builds drama and tension if your doing well, in the manner that the last grade can still mess up a great gpa. It also gives hope to those not doing so well, the prayer that THIS grade, will save the semester.
I have to admit it was frustrating fist semester when I was stupid and waited for my grades before applying to some programs. Then I would have loved a set date.

Ann Althouse said...

Yeah, I understand that perspective, but you've got to try to imagine what it is like reading 55 answers to the same question, trying to maintain a clear focus and be fair to everyone. It's actually harder than dedicating a block of time to a writing project (where you often wheel spin and produce little). It's easy to look at a block of time and think use that than it is to get done what you could get done in that time if you had a great session.

Ann Althouse said...

I figure whether you're being funny or not that you really are being critical and unsympathetic about the difficulty.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks. Sorry. It's a sensitive topic for me -- especially after writing this post on Monday...