My junior and senior students wrote their semester exams this past week. My exam slots were all on Thursday afternoon and we had early release on Friday. Try as I might, I had no hope of sticking to my tradition of grading everything before my departure for Christmas holidays; I ended up taking two sections’-worth of exams home with me.

Previous midterm grading went rather smoothly and painlessly with my commitment to grading at least ten exams per day until all were done. Thus, I decided to try the same tactic with the semester exams. After having graded my quota of ten for today, I am pleased to report that it wasn’t so bad. I am now 25% accomplished in my task, and there was some amusement to be had.

Upon being asked how to explain proper microscope use to a friend, one student began his answer with, “First you uncover the microscope and admire it…” There is nothing I like better than an excellent answer that also delivers a hearty guffaw! Thanks, Marcelo!

I left a space at the bottom of the exam for notes to the teacher, but instead of soliciting feedback for improvement, which can turn nasty in the heat of exam stress, I worded it like this:

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To which one student of today’s ten replied:


I now have two items on my to-do list for next term:

  1. Record a Dubsmash with Juan Pablo.
  2. Shorten my Semester 1 exam so I get more kindness! 🙂