After class today, my best student confides to me that the most recent assignment was the toughest thing he’s had to do in college so far. I take that as a tremendous compliment.
Why? The students had to get out into nature and observe at least four -ology features. Then they had to succinctly describe the features in 300 words or less.
I like the assignment because it does two things: (1) makes students apply what they’ve been learning in class to a real-world environment; and (2) learn to write more clearly and concisely. These are the two things that I think college first-years struggle with the most, and they’re two of the skills students are most going to need when they graduate.
So I’m glad to know that my student discovered that the observations took some attention to detail and that the writing took a surprising amount of time. That means he’s learning something real. And that means I’m doing my job.
And that will make grading those 60+ essays a little more palatable.