Peter Elbow, in "Embracing Contraries in the Teaching Process," argues that "in order to teach well we must find some way to be loyal both to students and to knowledge or society" (338). To grade well, we must come to terms with these dual loyalties, too. Most of us, when teaching in the classroom or in our offices, have great sympathy for our students as individual people. Unfortunately, when grading at home, we tend to emphasize our allegiance to standards, or criteria (representing our society's or department's view of what knowledge is necessary), while downplaying our personal obligations to the people we grade. We may rationalize this by saying that we are cruel in order to be kind, for we know that the real world is unforgiving of those who can't meet the standards society has set.
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