Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Biggest Stack of Essays I've Ever Seen. Ever.

Okay.  Get a load of this:

I'm not trying to brag.  I'm not even trying to gain your sympathy, but yes, those are all the essays I need to grade over Thanksgiving break.  Some snafu in my perfect teaching plan went south and I ended up collecting over 100 essays the week before break.  I was thinking back to when I was a student and hated the idea of having a paper hanging over my head the whole break, one that I'd stress about each day, inevitably resulting in "anxiety snacking" when the holiday was already one of the more calorically threatening ones out there.  Despite the heartache and heartburn, I wouldn't begin until the night before it was due.  (Yes, I was that student, the one who always turned in her rough draft as if it were the final draft.  The one who relied on one or two accidentally insightful discoveries to carry the weight of the whole essay.  The one who read the book, loved the book, and I suppose that impressed the professor enough to warrant a high score.)  So, thinking back on that poor, tortured student who felt guilty the entire Thanksgiving break for procrastinating her work, I made all the essays for my classes due BEFORE Thanksgiving.  Oops.   

Now, don't get me wrong.  I actually love grading essays.  I savor them.  I have a really nice pen.  I get to drink a lot of coffee in one sitting.  I pray before I start, asking God to help me see the potential, the brilliance rather than the occasional grammar smudges-- the seemingly random appearance of the comma  or the complete disregard for the gravitational laws that govern MLA formatting.  But when you are looking at 100 essays, the math starts to get a little daunting...

I am beginning to see the irony here--the other day I posted about God giving me the work that I need to be doing.  Well, folks.  Here it is.  And, yes, I am grateful despite the fact that these essays actually weigh more than the turkey most of us will be cooking over break.  There is something to be learned here.  Sometimes the work we get is pretty challenging.  I mean, sometimes it's going to seem impossible.  But just you watch.  It won't be.  It never is.  

Have you ever noticed when you are doing something in Him, how that thing seems...graceful?  I mean, it's almost too easy to do.  You think it should be harder, but it isn't.  It feels natural and good and kind of exciting.

I see each of the minds, the souls, the hearts bent over the glowing screen to write each word...hope upon hope.  Word upon word.  And I get to see each silent secret they put down there on those pages.  And I hope these writers felt like it was the easiest thing they've ever done.

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