Tuesday 15 November 2016

Pros and Cons to Entering Grades Last Minute

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'Tis the season. Here in Korea, the school year is coming to an end and so is the semester. All Korean universities work in a similar way. You have X amount of time to enter the grades, students have X amount of time to complain about their grades, and then you have X amount of time to change their grades if needed.

I've found that teachers can be divided into two groups when it comes to the grading period: those who enter their grades as soon as possible and those who put off entering their grades as long as possible.

Pros to Entering Grades Last Minute
  • You will get fewer complaints. The reason behind this is that if you enter grades last minute, students will have less time to check their grades. Less time means fewer students to deal with. 
  • You will spend less time checking your emails. Koreans aren't exactly known for their patience. I've had students email me an hour after they sent their first email demanding why I hadn't answered them. If you're lucky, the office will keep your personal details from your students. Sometimes, the secretaries will give out your personal email and cell phone to students. I've had students text and call early in the morning. 
  • You will have more time to do your grading. This way you can double check to make sure there are no mistakes.
Cons to Entering Grades Last Minute
  • If you enter grades at the last minute then your students will have less time to check their grades before the grievance period and this means that mistakes might slip through the cracks.
  • More students will complain to the office that they can't see their grades right away. Korean professors might only teach 1-2 classes a semester and then have TAs do all their grading. Foreign professors typically have 5-6 classes a semester and forget about getting a TA. 
  • You have the deadline hanging over your head which means more stress for you.
The complaint or grievance period is definitely one of the most stressful and annoying parts of the semester. With that being said, I love working at a Korean university and have even written about how to get a job at a Korean university, as well as some of the best places to work at. During the grievance period, students can be very persuasive. Some try to give you gifts. Others will play the pity card and beg and plead with you. However, you need to be firm and let students know that you don't give grades; they earn them.


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