I've been so grumbly and fierce lately, looking at everything including Tot and AL through a black cloud. (I had an annoying project hanging over my head along with laryngitis on top of the move.) But I've just finished an annoying project and I'm almost over this laryngitis and Tot is taking a nap, and it's time to recommit myself to being more positive.
So here's one thing I'm thinking about: as much as there is a lot about grading to hate, both theoretically and actually, the way I typically grade (waiting until the last possible minute and then grading in a huge black cloud huff) doesn't allow me to enjoy it. It's really not much of a possibility. I always read papers with the seeds of interesting conversations in them, conversations I would like to have and should broach with my students (especially considering who my students are and how little intellectual engagement is part of their everyday lives). (I'm not trying to bash my students here; I'm always surprised at how interesting my students are, considering everything. I teach at a specialized institution where only certain kinds of students apply/attend -- students who are not at all like me or who I was at their age. Moreover, they do not come to my uni to take my courses. In fact, my department doesn't have a major; we're purely a service department.) So when my students are up for interesting conversations, I should jump on it. I always put the paper aside and sigh that there's no time for that. Grade grade grade. And I always forget about the pedagogical opportunities of grading when I'm procrastinating digging into a big stack.
I want to enjoy my job more. In fact, I'm determined to. Procrastinating essential parts of my job that I don't like does not make me like my job more. I'm not sure how I'm going to do it -- especially since I tried contract grading, but this doesn't work with my procrastinating tendencies -- but I'm getting control of this grading issue. I am interested in what my students say. I do want to have these conversations. I do want to wade through their prose and help them fix it. I need to think of grading differently.