May 10, 2004

Lawprofs blogging about grading exams.

I've blogged about proctoring exams (carefully!), but I'm not going to blog about grading exams (though I'm obviously blogging about not blogging about grading exams). Prof. Yin's experience served as a warning to me. Students are very sensitive about the grading process--with good reason. Law school grades have a huge effect on them. So it doesn't really work for a lawprof to make casual comments about how things are going with the grading or to engage in the usual complaints about workload. I won't report, for example, finishing grading, because there is a gap between when I hand them in and when the grades become available to the students, so knowing reporting that I've finished--and I'm not saying I have!--could only stir up anxieties. I hope that saying even this much does not stir up anxieties!

UPDATE: Sua Sponte is taking this a little hard. I'm not "self-censoring" because Prof. Yin got a slight nip over saying "unfortunately" in connection with the fact that he wasn't done grading. I think bloggers generally have to be careful about what they say. Clearly, I want to use my blogs to express myself and reveal something about myself, but I also keep many thoughts and personal facts to myself. One has to be selective. It might seem as though I'm willing to jot down anything that pops into my head, but that really wouldn't work very well! The subject of grading is not a good one. There's too much potential for causing anxiety and not really much of anything original to say.

ANOTHER UPDATE: You know, it's fine for Letters of Marque to say that students ought to be more thick-skinned, but I still don't think it's my role to churn out material to help them develop that thick skin. Partly, I'm concerned about the students--possibly a very small percentage--who have a lot of anxiety that would be stoked by casual comments made on a lawprof blog. You need to remember that there are students worried about surviving in law school, and signs that the lawprof is getting exasperated or inattentive are needlessly painful. But partly, I'm concerned about my own well-being. I'm not all that thick-skinned myself, and I think if I used this blog in a way that upset students, they'd soon be attacking me on their blogs and I wouldn't like if very much. On the other hand, I could get a lot of links that way. But then I'm getting my share of links just by taking this don't-blog-about-grading position.

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