making it matter

the number 88I’ve been teaching an online course this summer. It’s in “church administration.” After a decade in that role, I realized that I actually know a little.

I’ve love the class. We met weekly for a two-hour live chat, all typing as fast as we can, thinking as quickly as we can.

And then we got to the end of the class. And grading showed up.

I hate grading.

It’s part of the reason I moved out of teaching into educational administration about two decades ago. I taught things like speech and introduction to college and some worldview seminar classes. They are pretty subjective. They allow for opinion.

But that’s not what I didn’t like about grading. I realized tonight that I was having to assign grades to things that mattered mostly for the grade. I was assigning numbers so that we could report numbers, but I couldn’t feel confident that the students were walking away with anything more than numbers.

Tonight I graded the final projects for the summer class. The students wrote policies or hiring processes. They explained why they were recommending these things, what difference it would make in their organizations. And as I read, I found myself moving out of grading into consulting. I was suggesting things that could improve their policies, could affect the organization.

Suddenly, this wasn’t the old futility. This was significant, for the writers and me. Sure there are points assigned. Sure there is a grade. But unlike all the rest of the papers I ever graded (or wrote as a student), these papers won’t get tossed. They will get used.

They matter.

And that matters.

If you are a teacher or a student or a boss or a worker (or a blogger), if you have any say at all (and you do), make your assignments and your projects matter. You might as well.

(And if you have an example of how that might work or want an example, let me know in the comments.)


One response to “making it matter

  1. Pingback: The Process Matters | ..:lindsey clift:..