In a New York Times Article this week, a professor at the University of Houston explains that she has been outsourcing the grading of student papers to a company who employs graders in India, Singapore,and Malaysia!
Therefore, as a writing teacher, the time I spend with student writing is invaluable. Throughout a semester, I become intimately acquainted with my students' writing. I actually learn their names based on their writing. So then, when I look into their faces in the classroom, I say to myself, "Oh yes, Valerie, Comma-Splice-Valerie," or "James, Mister-second-person-pronoun-using-James," or "Ah, yes. It's Run-on-sentence-Melissa," and finally, "Ahmed, the best writer of the bunch. Ahmed, who's going to have my job one day."
Therefore, a "grading mill" or outsourcing, or whatever we're calling it this week, couldn't possibly serve students or teachers well. Although the professor in the article is a Business professor, she confirms what all writing teachers know all too well: grading student essays is endless and grueling. Yet, every writing teacher can attest to the value of reading, grading, and spending time with each essay personally. Otherwise, we're just lecturing out of context. We never truly know our students as writers and as people.
I don't want to sound like some relic from a bygone era, but honestly, this is ridiculous. Next, society will just dispense with teachers altogether, and students will just download podcasts of computer animated instructors. Is this what education has been reduced to? Is this going to make the next generation smarter?