A holiday fable

‘Twas the night before grad day and all over the floor
The TAs were grading, don’t knock on our doors!
With red pen and clipboard, and coffee in hand
I’d just settled in for this day, long planned.

My final was over, the papers were stacked,
Students needed grades, it was time to attack.
When to my distraction, it happens without fail,
that tinny voice crowed, from the PC, “you’ve got mail!”

“Just a quick break,” I thought with a smirk,
“It’s been a long semester, enough with this work!”
So I pull up my browser (open source and all that),
and proceed to surf, to read blogs, and to chat.

Hours later, eyes bleary, caffine long expired,
I realized I was in a grading quagmire.
I looked at the pile of short-answer essays,
The multiple choice, the handwriting messy.

The tall paper stack seemed to creak with its weight
And I realized that grading must now be my fate.
But I knew ‘twas my duty so I pulled from the pile
A medsoc exam that I feared would be vile.

“Capitation is the answer to number fifteen!”
I grimaced my way through logic unseen
That led students to answer, of all things, “Fee for service”
And as I continued I just got more nervous.

But on to the essays, oh what would I find,
bad writing, missing answers, or penmanship unkind?
But wait! This one’s good, perhaps a small flaw.
The author really got it, she understood, she saw.

Had I reached perhaps just a small few
With my lectures, my classes, my assignments to do?
Sure some exams were bad and others were clueless,
And an occasional handful were just a real mess.

But when I added up scores and processed the grades
I saw I was close to having it made.
The students did all right, and I was nearly done,
So it was time to bring on some holiday fun.

I filled in my grade sheet and made myself a Xerox,
One for my file and one for the out box.
And as I sighed and leaned back I heard doors down the hall
My TA peers were free, every one and all!

The Scantron machine shut down with a hum
And somebody, somewhere, had a bottle of rum.
Our grading complete, we head for the pub
For ales, for comfort, for pub-style grub.

So we stroll down the street without hesitation
Postponing thoughts of revision, of dissertation.
And I think as the semester recedes out of sight,
“I’ll do it again next spring, but for now, I’m all right.”