Wednesday, December 19, 2007

She Don't Like to Wear Diapers, Yo.

Today I gave three final exams. This is what I have to say about that: uck.

It was a day full of grading, grading, and more grading. By the time my night was over (the last exam was stacked in front of me at 8:00 PM), I was ready to put my head down on the desk and have a good cry. I'd spent the whole day correcting tests and papers and exams and a last-minute scramble of extra credit. This was not what I'd call an "awesome" experience. In fact, it was downright depressing. I corrected three separate classes' work, and seeing how many students decided to end their semesters with an elegant belly-flop into failure hurt my head.

When I came home, I didn't even bother to take off my shoes. I just stood in the kitchen, dripping snow and silt all over my floor, and shoved chocolate covered cherries in my mouth. After I'd eaten four I felt a little bit better, but that didn't mean I'd completely shaken off some of the things I read today.

My favorite came from one of my lower-level reading courses. The last part of the semester had been devoted to the study of argument, and so the final exam featured all types of arguments: newspaper articles, cartoons, student work, etc. My students were supposed to read and consider each argument and answer several questions that would test their comprehension.

The funniest response I got was for the cartoon I'd included on the exam. It pictured a chubby baby sitting in front of a mirror. The baby was looking at itself with wide eyes and thinking, This diaper makes my butt look big...

The students were supposed to answer some general questions about the cartoon that would (hopefully) help them develop their answers and understanding of the overall message. The final question in the set asked the students to briefly describe the cartoon's argument.

One student wrote this: The argument of this cartoon is that the type of diaper she is wearing sucks, or that she don't like to wear diapers at all.

Thankfully, I read that response near the end of the night--well past the time I'd rounded the bend from sanity to insanity. I was now giggling at the unintentionally funny responses. But if I'd read that exam two hours before, that response would've made me plunge my pen into my slowly shriveling teacher heart.


Jason said...

I feel your pain. Rather--I felt your pain. Turned in grades two days ago, and now I feel nothing.

And I will remain numb for almost a month.

Casey Sween said...

Yeah. I'm there too. Except I only had one class. But I did spend the week editing (rewriting) two manuscripts that read like 101 essays.