I'm fuming over here. Why? Because I just got graded on my first major assignment for my online course, and I thought the grade was too low: 28 out of 40! I worked long and hard on that assignment, and I felt like the criticisms that the professor made of it were not entirely fair, even according to the rubric she gave out.
So, I wrote a civil email asking her to reconsider some of her criticisms. I don't think it was a perfect assignment, and I wasn't aiming for perfect. I would have been happy with a 35 out of 40. But I feel like she misunderstood me...
Anyway, the irony of all this does not, of course, escape me. I am, after all, an English teacher. I have graded reports and assignments. I've frustrated and disappointed students, I know it. Not because I wanted to, but just because I'm sure they worked hard on it but it still had flaws. I guess that's where this comes down to it: if I agreed that my work had substantial flaws, then I wouldn't feel stung. But I don't think my work had substantial flaws, and the professor did. And guess who has the authority to grade it? That's right, not me. And I need to take (and pass, obviously) this class in order to renew my license. I am not very excited about it. The topic is interesting enough: helping to motivate boys. But this year, it feels hollow. I don't have my own classroom full of kids. I'm kind of just floating at the edges of everything. I'm under the gun to get the course finished by the end of October, which would have been COMPLETELY doable had I gotten an earlier start and been more consistent. Now it's going to be a race to the finish and very high stakes indeed: my teaching license depends on it. I had three years to take a class, but of course I waited until the bitter end because I underestimated the number of credits I needed for renewing my license. Hmmm, didn't I tell some of my students not to live like this in conferences last spring? Pretty sure I did...
And did I mention this class cost $775?! And it costs $100 to apply for a license renewal, too. Peachy.
The straw that broke this grumpy camel's back, though, was that the professor used little smiley faces liberally in her comments on my assignment. "Don't be discouraged! It's a good start! :)"
THAT DOES NOT MAKE ME FEEL BETTER. IT MAKES ME ANGRY!!!!!!! RAWWRRRR!
So, former students reading this, perhaps this is the part where you wonder if I am going to vow solemnly that I will never be a harsh grader again. Well, I don't know if I can promise that. See, that's the teacher in me that understands the teacher in my professor. I at least believe that she wants me to do well and is trying to nudge me forward. I don't want to be nudged, and I disagree with how much nudging she thinks I need, but I know that she's not just being random and mean. I promise not to be random and mean, but I can't say I won't disappoint or frustrate a student. I CAN promise not to put lots of smileys on the page, though.
Ughh. I still feel grumpy. I know that I'm just taking out my frustrations on the professor. The truth is that I've just been all out of sorts. Things haven't fallen into place yet with my new job. I know that it's only week 2 of school; it's really too soon to pass judgment. But hey, since when has that ever stopped me? I feel lonely there. Funny, isn't it? When I was full time, I often felt overwhelmed with all of the extra people in my life to worry about, care for, nurture, discipline, praise, love on, be bothered by, etc. Now I'm living the part time dream, and I look wistfully out my "office" window at the Seniors walking from class to class. I don't envy the new Senior team their workload, but I do envy them the chance to hang out with a genuinely pretty fab group of kids.
ANYWAY I should stop complaining because I'm sure it will get better as the weeks wear on, and I am really glad to be working part time. I'm glad I get to be with Ruby tomorrow. Maybe we'll try out that playgroup near our home if her nap schedule permits. We will run errands and get stuff done. I'll do more coursework, and it will all be okay. Even if the professor disagrees with me and keeps my grade where it is. It is all going to be fine.
"Be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.'" (Hebrews 13:5b)