Wielding a red pen once more

I finished grading one class of essays today, so I've done enough to take an internet break. It's all the more impressive when you consider that a) I haven't graded any essays in over three years, b) I was grading them to the soundtrack of a Malay kompang band entertaining the wedding party on the ground floor/void deck of our apartment block.

People who actually read this blog regularly may wonder, did she stick to that resolution about not making any more snarky comments in the margins? Dear reader, I will have you know that I stuck very closely to the spirit of the resolution, and allowed myself only one teensy lapse. After all, when a student, comparing young people's lives with that of their contemporaries "in the past", proceed to write that in the past, young people in Singapore had to "toil in the fields", no self-respecting teacher can allow that to slip by without scribbling a hasty, "What fields?!" in the margins. I mean, seriously, people. Singapore? Never known for any agricultural endeavour, even "in the yesteryears" (another pet phrase of students, it seems). Those waxy romanticised images of bamboo-hatted farmers stooping to work in puddled rice padi fields? Are not of our country. Yet for some reason two students felt compelled to note this point.

For the record, the essays in general did not tempt me greatly to snarkiness, so keeping the resolution hasn't been too difficult. The kids write decently --- and I suspect I'm also mellowing with age.

On Friday, at a random coffee/tea break encounter in the canteen, the boss asked us all what we were doing on the weekend, since schools now operate on a five-day week. I can't believe I forgot to tell her that I'd be marking.


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