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EssayTagger is a web-based tool to help teachers grade essays faster.
But it is not an auto-grader.

This blog will cover EssayTagger's latest feature updates as well as musings on
education, policy, innovation, and preserving teachers' sanity.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Musings on Education: Last year's seniors begin college!

It's odd to refer to my seniors as being from "last year," considering that it was only three months ago! But most of them are now in their first couple of weeks of college and a number of them have been kind enough to tell me how my class helped them get ready--which was my #1 goal for their Senior English experience.

This is me beaming with pride--in myself as a teacher, but really for my students. As I told them in the last week of class, their lives, their successes, are my legacy. Whatever small role I played in leading them toward success is my contribution to this planet, what makes my life and my time here worthwhile.
"omg so i'm apologizing right now because i always complained when we had to do all that stuff with creating a thesis but today it actually paid off in my com class! my professor was so impressed with my example thesis! haha so i take back all those dirty looks!"
-Brianna W.
And, by the way, Brianna was the student who would tweet about how boring (or occasionally interesting?! Maybe?) my classes were!

Here's another one that really made my day:

"Hey Mr.Mukai !!

I remember you telling us you like hearing from your students after they graduate, so I decided to write you. I wanted to let you know how extremely helpful being in your humanities class was and how treating us like college students has really helped me so far.

Everything for my English class is online! EVERYTHING! Basically everything for all of my classes is online haha It started off being a pain in the ass for your class, but everything you did senior year has helped me now, and i understand why you did it.
Everything has been good so far with school except getting kicked out the first day of class for not having one book yet ! yeah, by my English teacher...she reminds me of you except she's a girl haha

--Julia W.

And from earlier in the summer:

"I just wanted to tell you that in my summer english class WE ARE DOING THE SAME REAL WORLD PROJECT FROM CLASS. We are all also receiving The Naked Roommate (Which I already have [--because I gave her a copy of it for having the highest grade in my four sections!]). We have to basically read each assignment and then pick something from the reading we found interesting or something we found confusing and write a response to it. Hmm sounds familiar. Oh yeah and one more thing, we had to bring in a picture of someone that inspires us and I brought in a picture of you and then we had to write a paragraph about that person."
--Dalila D

I love that in the 21st-century I can keep in touch with them and see how things are going, nearly in real-time. I don't think I had any contact with any of my high school teachers until ten years had gone by. Back in 1995 it was new for college students to get email addresses. Keeping in touch just wasn't as easy.

Now I get plenty of updates via email and facebook:

Sometimes the kids just need a shoulder to cry on:

Ha, I told them my class was super-easy compared to college!

And I really love it when they share their excitement over their college classes:

And speaking of Philosophy, more than one student has already asked for help and/or advice:
"I haven't even had one meeting for my political science class and he assigned us to read the first 7 chapters of john locke's treaties. this is horrible im on chapter 6 but none of this is making sense. I've annotated the crap out of it using diigo on the ipad, but do you think other kids are having this issue? do you think he will make it clear to me in our first meeting tomorrow?"
--Kent E
And another (Philosophy really is a killer!):

I love that I can continue to be a resource to the students that are looking for some extra help. There are a ton of things we never covered in class that can help them as they start their college careers. It's great for me since I'm not teaching this year--it gives me my teaching fix--and I've got the time now. 

I'm a bit envious that they're out there having all these adventures and facing big new challenges. But it's also really damn cool to see. I can only imagine that it's a bit like how parents must feel each time their child takes a leap forward.