Posted by: Kenn Hermann | December 13, 2007

Slogging Through Those Final Exams

Here I sit chipping away in fits and starts at this mountain of both electronic and paper final exams for the umpteenth year. (yes, I am aware of the mixed metaphors between title and first line, but somehow one image is not sufficient to capture the angst of this time of year.) I can’t help but be curious about how my colleagues endure their grading marathons. How many exams can you grade at one sitting — after the first day, after the third day, after the last day? How many hours a day can you stand it? How many different excuses do you invent for yourself to take a break? How many agonized groans do you exhale per exam? How many Advils per day do you need? How many different chairs and sofas do you sit in throughout the day to break the monotony? How many walks do you need per day to clear your head? How many times a day do you swear off ever doing this again? How many wake-ups till your very last grading? How many times has your spouse threatened to leave you if they hear that kind of language again? How many different phrases do you have in your lexicon for saying that “this exam/term paper is ______________”? How many times have you pondered what these exams are contributing to the well-being of your students? How many turn to the last page of an exam to find a scribbled note, saying “thanks for a great class, prof,” and break into a satisfying smile? Just curious . . . .

…and yes, dear students who may be listening in, many of your professors do have these moments grading final exams.

Now, after writing this blog what else can I do to put off the inevitable return to the stack? Hmmm, what’s on PBS tonight? Oh, that’s right it’s fund-raising week with the Very Rev. Wayne Dyer. All those positive feelings flowing through me. Breath d-e-e-p-l-y and exhale s-l-o-w-l-y. Grading exams seems so much easier now that I have gotten in touch with my Inner Nurturing Self.


  1. It’s great to see the other side of the torture. =)

  2. Thanks, Michael. I hope it brightened your day. I am sure, though, that your professors were delighted to read your exams.

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