Ask any teacher what the hardest part of teaching is, and the answer that is most often number one is grading. It takes time. Loads of it. And for someone who teaches writing, there are no real shortcuts. I must read that essay and make comments on it. Computers can’t go it alone. It’s times like this that I wish to use a few choice colorful metaphors towards other departments for using Scantron tests that can be graded in the blink of an eye.
The temptation is to knuckle under and simplify the grading structure to allow me to more rapidly mark a score. And it’s not like I can’t evaluate a piece of writing on the quick. I’m a fast enough and astute enough reader that I can quickly determine the grade an essay should get. It’s the explanations that take time. It’s pointing out the mistakes and how to correct them that eat up my time.
There are definitely times where I would like to adopt the habit of literary agents to simply stop reading and reject what has been submitted to me with the same level of explanation that agents give. It would be so tempting to dash off a quick form letter to a student with the explanation that “I just didn’t fall in love with the essay.”