Friday, August 3, 2007


I thought I would shed some light upon my recent activities since it has just been brought to my attention that I have not posted in almost a week. I blame this on two things...

Harry Potter


Grading papers.

The former involved a rather intricate dance of wanting to read but not wanting to finish reading. So I would come up with myriad things to prolong the inevitable conclusion of this journey of my belovéd hero. Creating diversions for oneself is an easier task than I previously thought. However, much to my chagrin I ended the tale of 'the boy who lived' yesterday with tears and a bit of dramatic fortitude.

Interspersed with my avoidance of reading I buckled down to grade the final papers of the Cosby scholars. Although the summer institute ended on July 12, students in my class had until last week to turn in their 10 page reflections/musings. They had been given a detailed rubric with guidelines from which to steer their discussion. I looked forward to sitting with each paper for a while and consequently providing encouraging feedback.

Grading takes me a while.

I blame this on my own constant state of studentship. Over the years I have written quite a number of masterpieces and they have not always been given the proper fanfare and applause I felt they warranted (although I must say that many have). When I write a scholarly paper I agonize over every word until I achieve perfection, or at least until I am so sick of looking at it I don't care anymore. It pains me when I get these little gems back with a cursory "well done" or some such gibberish.

Why can't my papers be shown the respect they deserve!

In order to right these injustices I settle in with each and every paper I receive. Of course the easiest thing to critique is the structure of the thing, which should be in APA format. After providing copious bullet points pertaining to this I dig in. For each paper I provide at least one page of type written feedback, sometimes more. There have been times in the past when I have actually written more commentary than was in the paper in the first place. This is my nature. I believe student and teacher form a team wherein we learn from each other and create a sort of dialogue. Even if I am ultimately grading their efforts.

Feedback such as this is a form of schmoozing. As La Bellina Mammina surely noticed when she awarded me the schmoozer award, I like to schmooze.
I have lifted this definition from her blog...

"As it goes, schmoozing is the natural ability to converse casually. Good schmoozers effortlessly weave their way in and out of the blogosphere, leaving friendly trails and smiles, happily making new friends along the way. They don’t limit their visits to only the rich and successful, but spend some time to say hello to new blogs as well. They are the ones who engage others in meaningful conversations, refusing to let it end at a mere hello - all the while fostering a sense of closeness and friendship".

In the spirit of paying it forward I would like to pass this along to Reya at The Gold Poppy for simply being herself and for sharing her thoughts so consistently.


Junk Thief said...

I like that definition of schoozing. After a year of doing it, I am glad that my great fear of being attacked by internet "haters" has yet happen (knock on particle board). Anonyomous as the internet can be, it also can be unusually kind at times. It's nice to know there a people like you out there!

marxsny said...

I can't believe you told me the end of Harry Potter.
Some of those papers were quite entertaining though, I have to say.

marxsny said...

BTW I love the Simba and Nala by my little artist. As you know I have enough artwork for a gallery show.

Gary said...

Oh Mark, stop. You have not even finished reading Order of the Phoenix yet so don't be a wise guy. M'kay?

Mr. Thief you are so good to me. I hope I am likewise sweet and darling to you.

MONA said...

AH1 finally I get the definition of Schmoozing...
Congratualtions! you deserve the award!

Harry Potter...My son has them all & I never read even one..

J. David Zacko-Smith said...

Grading papers well, is, without a doubt, hard work (and very time consuming). Make sure you take your vitamins, handsome one.

d. chedwick bryant said...

love the pic of Mommy Dearest!

I just looked thru your snaps of previous post, you are one sexy dude.

la bellina mammina said...

Alright- i forgive you for not blogging for a week!! ;-) Congrats Mr Schmoozer.

jay said...

I just finished Harry too and tried many things to put off finishing the story... sad to see it end.

Salty Miss Jill said...

Yet another reason I wish I would have had you as a teacher or professor...providing actual constructive feedback with the attention Joan Crawford gave to her household. ;)

'I'm not mad at you, I'm mad at the split infinitives!'

Gary said...

Mona -- When I first started reading HP it was not the craze that it later became and I hid behind the fact that if anyone questioned my reading material I could tell them that I needed to read it because I was a teacher. Now it seems most everyone has read it...except YOU! Step into the light Carol Ann. (See I am schmoozing ;)

JDZS -- I actually meant to post some questions about the somewhat subjective nature of grading essays. Have you found this to be true? I have to question Lettuce on this as well.

Ched -- Thanks but it is all smoke and mirrors, smoke and mirrors. Welcome back!

LBM -- It seems that this summer with so little to do I can't seem to make myself do anything! I hope it is not another week before I post.
Thanks for thinking of me Mrs. Schmoozer.

I know what you mean Jay. I wonder what JK will come up with next.

Salty -- I love the 'quote'. I had an instant mental picture of myself standing in front of the class, clutching their papers and screaming that line in desperation. And I giggled!

Paul said...

You should know it does me good to hear how conscientiously you grade. I can imagine how it benefits your students -- and they, of course, are the future.


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