Exams are depressing. And not just for the students, I might add. There are just no two ways around it. Exam grading leaves me exhausted and wondering why on earth I bothered to try to teach. I don’t know about you, but 520 pages of test problems (where a 15 out of 45 is apparently a good score for a page) is just not a heartening way for me to end a teaching assignment.

Sometimes, I understand. Sometimes the professor is really mean, or tricky, or the exam is too long, or something. But it’s hard to say that the test was too hard when the prof told them that he would pull 6 questions from the exam out of a list of maybe 25 book problems, and they had a two-sided 8.5×11 notecard, and we had two review sessions and several practice exams. I know the material can be tough, but the sorts of mistakes that were made are really just sickening. I am one of those TAs that really puts everything aside when I have a student that wants help and is trying. And I even put things aside to try to inspire the apathetic ones to try harder. I have put myself so far behind in my research trying to give these students a leg up, and they didn’t even read the stupid book.

And then they fail. Miserably. Sometimes I wonder how it’s possible to get so few points on an entire page, even if you’re guessing. I mean, random chance says that you should get more points than zero. It seems like you would have to try to fail this badly; it just defies statistics. You can only grade so many zero point pages before it starts to get to you. I had at least 10 today, and probably more like 20. There were several in the single digits (and we’re talking 50 point pages here). Branden often does better on these exams than my students, and he’s never sat in on an organic chemistry class in his life (yes, he does take them just to see what intelligent guessing can do for you…). You’d think that not having taken the class would put him at a disadvantage, but then I suppose it doesn’t really, since they don’t go to lecture, and they have never opened an o-chem book, either. Ok, that’s a bit harsh; I know some of them have, and many have been trying very hard. Tomorrow, I will remember that many of them have succeeded. Tonight, I am just tired. Tired of grading, tired of teaching when no one learns. Just tired. And my eye has started twitching again, which makes me crazy. Sigh.

On the plus side, I have gotten some knitting done. I’m about 3/4 of the way through Mom’s scarf, and I’m hoping to finish it up tomorrow. I had hoped to find some time to work on a project for Branden, since he’s not home to snoop and it’s impossible to work on things in secret unless he’s across the country on business. But, I think that’s not going to happen. I am just not a fast enough knitter, I’m afraid. Ah well. He’ll forgive me if it ends up not being a surprise. Or maybe I’ll just work on it while he’s at robotics all next quarter. We’ll see. For now, I think I am going to take my tired and depressed self off to bed, and hope that things will look better in the morning (so that I can go back to school and add up the scores and calculate the final grades…so that tomorrow can be almost as depressing as today…). Blarg. Hopefully I will have something less dismal to say tomorrow night. See you then!