Friday, May 29, 2009

What Do The Lagoon Nebula, Subordinating Conjunctions, Scantron, And I All Have In Common? Ask George Bailey!

This "job" thing is really cutting into my free time.
And you know me...I hate to bitch.

But it's kept us apart, really. My brain has developed more than a passing resemblance to that illustration above, which is an actual photograph of chaos. Celestial chaos, but chaos nonetheless.

You'd think that, after 28 years of this gig, the end of the year would be like folding laundry: something I can do without thinking about it, something that's a familiar and easy routine. But teenagers aren't as compliant as terrycloth and teeshirts, and administrators aren't warm and fluffy like clothes from the dryer. Sigh.

There have been a couple bright spots, however; my junior regulars--dangerously close to wallowing in ennui and D's and F's--decided to "get their grammar on" and became experts in subordinate clauses and sentence structure. It was incredible to hear them admonish each other using insults such as, "Are you crazy? That sentence has an elliptical adverbial clause, fool!" Or, "Can't you see that subordinating conjunction right there? It's "after!" I know it's also a preposition, dummy, but look at the subject and verb after it! DUUUUH!" These kids begged me to grade the test over compound, complex, compound-complex, and simple sentences today immediately after they took it. Not one student scored below a C.

The other ray of light was a little more selfish. I dreaded giving a final essay test today over The Catcher in the Rye for my sophomore honors students. There is only one more class day left--Monday--and then we have exam days. I didn't want to be stuck with almost 70 essays to grade, along with final exams and everything else that constitutes the Last Days work. I pulled my folders and found--oh joy oh rapture--a gorgeous, AP-level analysis based, totally objective test that I had created a few years previous. It is designed to be answered on sheets for and graded by The Scantron Machine. How did I forget about this Wonderful Test? I almost wept. I wanted to fall at my own feet and worship myself. Not only is this a really great test, I won't have to touch a single red pen and it will take a total of 5 minutes to "grade."

I cannot begin to impress upon you HOW WONDERFUL THIS FACT TRULY IS.


Maybe you get me.
Anyway. Things are about to get even better really soon.

See you in June.


  1. i get you...

    I MEAN, I REALLY GET YOU. Because I have to grade 5 sets of final exams and EACH and EVERY one includes all of these things to grade:

    1. Scantron (yea!)
    2. Verb conjugation fill-in
    2. Oral presentation
    3. Essay

    So, yeah, PART of grading my finals is the fun Scantron machine. BUT THE REST IS RUBRIC AND RED PEN!!!!

    Therefore: until exam week is over, I am probably not even speaking to you, I am so seething with jealousy.

  2. p.s. apparently the jealously caused my ability to count from one to four to be seriously hampered. this is what i get from having negative thoughts, lol. i'm such a SCAVE. (that absolutely is the word verification this time, and the definition in the urban dictionary is shocking)

  3. Nance: Sound like that's a test you need to send my way! I was just thinking the other day of writing an Ode to the Scantron. I generally hate this kind of assessment, but when I'm trying to shovel all the BS out the door, it's the best, ain't it? And on top of that, we start yearbook distribution on Tuesday. Please pray for me.

    PS: Please don't forget to join our Sunday Funnies with a visit to Sx3 today!

  4. First, before I forget (as I usually do!), love the new bunny photo! Such a cutie!

    Major kudos on the ultra successful class--that's seriously awesome! You should be very proud. Those moments are the ones that make you think you'll teach forever!

    Congrats on finding that test! I'm so glad life is a lot easier as a result. Isn't it funny how we forget major stuff like that and we don't know how it's even humanly possible to do so?

    School's end in June will be here SOON!


  5. When does school get out? My daughter isn't out until the 12th, though I suspect she's mentally finished already. Sigh.

    I'll admit that I remember those days all too well.

    I loved scantron tests, as a student. Just knowing I didn't have to cough up facts and analysis, but could find the answer right there in front of me (I did read and study, so it's not like I was looking for freebies...I was just always afraid I would miss some nuance that would cost me the grade on an essay exam)...priceless as a lazier student. My husband sucked at scantron, though, so he hates them. Thankfully, our daughter does fine, so no future worries on that one.

  6. Any other time of the year it would be okay to read 70 papers about Catcher. But not at the end when that last bell is so close. Scantron? Thy name be praised.

  7. I would love to come and put the tests throught the machine for you!!! Anything to make life a little easier for my sweet Nance :) See you soon!!!!!

  8. Nina--You are buttering me up for something, I can tell. Should I be worried?

    apathy lounge--that's what i'm talking about. and i graded those tests this morning. NOT ONE A. that was a real eyeball-bleeder.

    j.@jj--oh, there was plenty of analysis on this test. PLENTY. I pulled excerpts from the novel and asked for interpretation with regard to symbolism, irony, diction, tone, etc. It mimicked the AP test. last day of classes was Monday; finals end on Thursday; my last day is Friday. CAN'T WAIT!

    Shirley--Thanks for the encouragement. My juniors were my challenge this year. Very mercurial bunch. Only 3 girls in the entire class. Have you seen the new Target commercial where the little girl dumps a bunny and then a whole bag of Goldfish crackers into a pink tote bag? SO CUTE!

    Melissa B.--I think that it's possible to make a very good objective AP-level test. I really do. I just don't think it's a good idea to give them exclusively. And hey, I've been keeping up with your Issue re: your student newspaper over there. Way to stay strong!

    Ortizzle--but thank goodness for the rubric, right? that makes things go much more quickly and more easily, I think. And pretty soon, i'll have to justify my love for you, Ms. Cabesa Gigantica! Your new job has me muy jealous.

  9. Awarding partial credit is the bane of my existence. On the other hand, if I didn't award it, 90% of my students would fail. ::sigh::

  10. Finding that you have unintentionally left a gift for yourself is the best. I felt that way last Christmas when I found not only two boxes of cards left over from the year before, but the address labels already printed out with them!

    Enjoy your summer Nance. You've earned it!

  11. J.--The fact that you still send cards is incredible. I gave that up years and years ago. One of the many reasons is the environment (that is the reason I tell myself to make myself feel less guilty).

    Mikey--Welcome to Public Education, where we have all the accountability and the students have NONE.

  12. Oh, I work for a private school. It's not a big deal if half of my students fail when it's their own fault, but it would just be wrong of me to not award partial credit. Students who understand the math well but make a few too many careless errors would be disproportionately punished, which is no good.

    Honestly, when I told my boss a few weeks ago that slightly over half of my students were failing at the midterm, he wasn't surprised at all.

  13. You are a Grammar Goddess. I have completely forgotten most of the proper names for anything but the basic parts of speech. I took college level linguistic courses, editing classes, and worked five years as an editor!

  14. V-Grrrl--Grammar knowledge (The Naming Of Parts)is like anything else: you work with it daily and you retain it. You don't; you don't. Certainly you use the Sub Conj's correctly and punctuate their clauses accordingly; that's obvious.


Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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