Monday, November 13, 2006
I spent a wonderful weekend grading student essays. Even as I write that, I realize that combining the word “wonderful” with “grading essays” seems a little implausible – but it’s nonetheless true. I had as much fun sitting at my desk in my apartment reading essay after essay as another person might have had walking a beautiful golf course, touring a museum, or spending a weekend at a resort. If you had stopped in to see me, you would probably have caught me smiling or laughing. I guess it just demonstrates the axiom that one person’s tedium is another person’s thrill. I would hate to spend a weekend taking apart a car engine, and yet some men get a rush just thinking about it. I’m sure relatively few people would start tingling with enthusiasm if you told them they had to spend Saturday and Sunday grading essays, but that’s the way I felt on Friday as I looked ahead to the weekend. I loved those two days. After all, I had the pleasure – the honor – of reading the sentences of 40 adolescents who think deeply and feel strongly. I felt like I was inside the life of the students while I read their essays – as though their intense and baffling worlds opened up to me in their carefully constructed paragraphs. The life of a human being is a mystifying wonder, and I was privileged to enter into several dozen of those lives this weekend. How could playing a round of golf compare to that?