I’ve agreed again this year to grade essays for the Ayn Rand Institute’s essay contests. You get a small honorarium, but mainly you get to see students in various stages of grokking the books. The downside is that I’ve got probably 200 essays to run through in the first phase of the grading (dropping to maybe 50 or 100 in the second phase) and my natural inclination is to reject nearly all of them because they’re so poorly written and conceived. However, these are also ninth and tenth graders so I have to adjust myself to their context and judge it that way.
I don’t know how many people adjust their contexts frequently, but given my druthers, ninth and tenth grade English students is not my preferred choice to switch to. That means that each essay takes awhile to grade (though it diminishes after about ten essays) as I am adjusting. What makes it all worse is that I have to finish grading by April 9th! Phew!