Anything but marking...

Firstly, this is an inauspicious start: instead of marking a stack of essays I have so far managed to drink many cups of tea, tidy my desk, read through a few of my favourite blogs -including the archives ( easties update, anybody?) - and endure a nosebleed of monstrous proportion. Starting a blog of my own seemed the next natural progression in the fine art of work avoidance.

I can only assume that my students are equally reluctant to start knuckling down to work. Or at least that's the feeling I get from my wincing glances at some of the efforts I've been given. It would be unprofessional *cough* to quote directly from any of the dear poppets' work, but a precis of a fairly typical paragraph would be;

"The think what I am describing is like, well big and I thing it is very good. It is very good due to being good in a big way. I have heard the word juxtaposition alot in class. I will use it in a way that makes no juxtaposition sense. I like my mobile phone, it is pollyfonic 2 tha max. This is just like the story what I have readed, much in a way like that coz there was three ladys talking in it. Luv ya!"

I can motivate myself just enough to mark maybe three consecutively, any more than this and I need to either lie in a darkened room or bury my head in a selection of Anita Brookner's writings (I prefer the darkened room).

My colleagues and friends working in schools seem to think that just because I have the inflated title of "lecturer" I work in some kind of aspiration-driven, ivory tower world, where students are all gifted and able, motivated to work and all I need do is turn up and smile benevolently. They seem to forget that the majority of my students are the same folk they washed their hands of several years earlier, having labelled them as unteachable, disruptive or, more to the point, thick. Added to this angsty maelstrom, the support for lecturers in FE is little more than notional and the pay and conditions subject to the vagaries of each individual college principle (statutory agreements notwithstanding). So why do it?

Well, that's what I'm beginning to wonder myself... to be explored in a further blog entry, I guess!