Another semester is coming to a close, which means an end to grading blogs for a little while! Although grading 90+ blogs every semester is daunting, this is honestly one of my favorite assignments to grade.
I do not assign topics for students, so they can blog about whatever they want, which is a win-win. It makes the writing more fun for students, which hopefully results in them enjoying the weekly writing practice more. It also makes grading the blogs more enjoyable for me. Nobody would want to read 90+ blogs on the same topic!
However, I often tell students that the blogging assignment is a double-edged sword for me. I always end up learning something from them, but it can take me several hours to grade all the blogs! Because the students write on a variety of topics, I tend to get pulled into many of the stories. I follow the links they often share and before I know it several hours have passed, and I am not even remotely close to having all the grading completed!
Over the years I have learned a lot from reading my students’ blogs: different perspectives on current events; newest trends whether in technology or fashion; some great new recipes; fun places to visit; and some great health and fitness tips too!
Sometimes their blogs also serve as a source of encouragement. They can express wisdom beyond their years, inspiration that surpasses their age, and the compassion of a child. These are the posts that when I am finally finished grading, whether at 2 p.m. or 2 a.m., I walk away from my laptop feeling like I just learned another valuable life lesson – or maybe a refresher when I needed it most!
Sometimes I can get discouraged; I wonder if I am making a difference at all, but then I will get a thank you, a handshake, a hug – even a Christmas card from a student thanking me for my efforts throughout the semester. These little acts of kindness make my long days and short nights seem worthwhile.
My teaching profession is certainly not rewarded monetarily, but yet I walk away from each semester feeling a little richer because of the students that have sat in my classrooms and the amazing lessons they have taught me.