I always have thought that the essence of learning was surprise. That feeling we get when we encounter a totally new idea—that’s surprise, a kind of delighted amazement makes us crave more. So I wonder if our desire to make education more tidy is actually deadening it for our students. In our quest to measure everything, we are leaving the frosting and sprinkles off the cupcakes.
Recently, I’ve witnessed several beautiful teachers walk away from teaching. I felt very sad and also a little jealous. Imagine how free I might feel without teaching! And then there are the teachers who do not walk away from teaching but become more embittered with […]
Recently, at the Toyota service center where I had gotten my car repaired, an employee said that I would be getting a survey via email asking me to assess the quality of service I received. “Anything less than five is terrible,” he told me. “It’s […]
Grading This course uses a form of grading called contract grading. There are no points or letter grades in this course, aside from the final letter grade you earn at the end. The premise of contract grading is that if you do the work required […]
It took me almost twenty years of teaching to recognize the pattern. Every spring semester, come March, my stress built to an unsustainable point, and I sank down deep into depression. In the spring of 2017, it hit harder than ever, for no particular reason, […]
I teach composition, critical thinking, and literature at a community college in the San Francisco Bay Area. For over two years, my teaching has been gradeless, as much as my institution will allow. I assign no letter grades or point values to essays, quizzes, or […]