I’ve been grading lab reports for the class that I TA this week. Sometimes I don’t know how teachers handle it… seeing the same mistakes repeatedly just gives you a terrible outlook on the abilities of undergrads, and by extension, the whole world. PhD comics has had a running commentary on my thoughts about this:
(I hope this qualifies as fair use of this image. If not, I will take it down and link to the page.)
Now, in reality I know that they’re not really that bad (the ones I’ve taught, anyway), but grading will make you lose sight of this, at least temporarily. That’s why I found it was a bad idea to grade for an hour and a half before going to teach my lab. Doesn’t quite put you in a “go get-em” sort of mood. I got over it, though.
This one was especially funny, because it came out right as the professor for my class decided to extend the due date for reports from Friday to Monday, throwing off my whole grading schedule, and hence, my homework schedule.
Yes, I have the joy of teaching for the pre-med physics class. We all know the stereotype of pre-med students as being overly concerned about getting an A and less concerned about actually knowing physics. I have to laugh inwardly sometimes as my students play into the stereotype by continually asking about how things will be graded and whether there’s a curve, etc.
But to characterize them all as grade grubbers is unfair. Talking to the students who really care about physics (or at least are actually trying to understand it) can be really fun and invigorating. Plus, it certainly helps your understanding to explain concepts to someone who doesn’t have nearly the same background you do. You find that you really have to know what you’re talking about in order to do it well. This also increases your appreciation for your professors, at least those who do a semi-respectable job of it.
Finally, here’s a primer for anyone who might have to decipher “undergrad-ese” as you teach your classes: