If you see a whole thing - it seems that it's always beautiful. Planets, lives... But up close a world's all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life's a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. - Ursula K. LeGuin

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Assessment Workshop

My summer break is starting a little late this year.  I volunteered to participate in an assessment workshop for our General Education Program. By volunteer I mean I'm getting paid.

The workshop runs for two weeks.  We meet from 8:30 to 4:30 every day (actually most days we get out by 4 at the latest) in a remote campus that is outside of SouthLite city limits.  This means I need to drive to the workshop every day.  Normally I walk to my campus and rarely am I on campus 5 days a week.

We have completed the first week and already I have learned a lot.  Here are some highlights:
  1. I am grateful to be an academic.  This business of having my work and time scheduled for me and being in the same room with the same people every day really bites.  Yes I know it is the reality for the majority of people employed in industrialized nations and for many years it was my reality but now I know better.  While academia is far from perfect, we have a pretty sweet deal and I can't wait to go back to it.
  2. Assessment is not grading.  Ok, so I actually knew this before I took the workshop but the Powers-That-Be don't seem to realize that I know this and feel the need to say it every few hours.
  3. It is really hard (but not impossible) to assess students' writing when you are not allowed to mark the page.
  4. Assessing 20 student papers a day--from assignments you didn't develop and in disciplines you know nothing about--blows.
  5. Just because I am now eating meat again does not mean I should refrain from ordering the vegetarian option on a catering menu.  I am amazed how frequently I forget that saying you eat meat means saying you eat bacon when you live in the south. (And yes they are feeding us at this workshop, something I know does not happen for the majority of the workforce.  Nor are the majority of the workforce being paid at the daily rate that I am receiving--yet still I complain.  That, my friends, is what academics do.)
  6. People believe you can teach someone how to write in a class or two outside of their major and then students will magically come to you with the ability to write clearly and concisely, display critical thinking skills and correctly use and cite the literature in your field. This is convenient because then all you need to teach them is the content of your field.
  7. My friend (who thankfully volunteered for the workshop with me) and I can solve all the problems in our department just by taking daily walks at lunch.
  8. Stag beetles are quite unattractive and a little scary looking.
  9. The remote campus is really lovely but not as large as I had imagined. 


Annie said...

I appreciate your statements about the nine to five. One of the thing I enjoy about working in a library is the variety. Even if I didn't work part-time, there are days you work mornings, and days you work late, and times when your days off are not in a row. The work itself is inherently varied, and except for our times at the reference desk, we arrange our own time with our off desk duties. On top of that, working in a children's department, crafts and story telling are a part of each week. (Not so for me, now, because of budget cuts, but I have my story time back for the summer!)

I also appreciate what you're going through with meals. Why put bacon in green beans and over salads, or chicken broth in vegetable soup? I always have to ask. I eat dairy; but never meat, poultry or fish.

Maggie May said...

if you can't write on the page, what do you do- take notes on separate pages?

beautiful creek.

comebacknikki said...

#5: I was a vegetarian for 6 years & a pescetarian for 3 -- although I do eat meat now (but no pork/beef very rarely), I still often order the veggie meals! The veggie meals are usually actually better anyway. :)

Julie said...

I love all your observations, especially number 6. It is so true. Too much is expected from teachers in a limited amount of time.

The campus looks beautiful. I agree with you about having a job that is not rigid or the "same old thing." I've had jobs inside cubicles, and they were the most miserable, soul sucking places I've ever worked. Other people seemed to be content, but it's rough for creative types.

Good luck on your final week!