Thursday, May 15, 2008

Grading Hazard

You are surely thinking: Oh no, she is going to complain about the feeling of brain damage you get after grading many many many many exams or papers and how you think that you will never recover your cognitive abilities and will go through the rest of your life in a dismal stupor.

Or you are thinking: She is going to mention how amazing it is that you can say to a class "X is an extremely important concept. I am going to ask you about it on the final exam. I have put a sample question about X, which we have talked about in 57% of the classes this term, on the course webpage, and this sample question is very similar to what I will put on the final exam." and then some students don't seem to ever have heard of this concept.

Or maybe you are thinking: She is going to rant about multiple-choice exams again, and it wasn't even that interesting the first time.

But you would all be wrong unless someone happened to wonder if I were going to mention this:

This evening when I arrived home, my most gigantic cat came running to greet me, as is his wont, and, as is also his wont, he hurled himself to the ground to roll in the dirt and request a belly rub (it may well be that during his time at the animal shelter in his Youth, he was seriously influenced by the dogs). I nearly screamed, shocked at the sight of large red splotches on his belly. I ran to him, convinced that he was bleeding profusely from numerous wounds. But no, it was red ink.

As I soon found out, he had fallen asleep on the uncapped red pen that my husband had been using for grading.

Now I am wondering whether the cat deliberately lay on the pen -- all my students (and some postdocs and colleagues) have tattoos, why not my cats?


Anonymous said...

Well, the cat probably attacked the pen and chewed it, then clawed it and threw it around until it was under him, if cats I know are anything to go by. I guess you could call that 'deliberate'. Some students show similar behavior with their writing utensils during exams as well.

Anonymous said...

This has to be the best grading-related story I've heard, ever.

Cheers to your most playful kitty!

plam said...

I only get ink stains on my fingers, not on my belly.

I've definitely experienced grading-induced brain rot. Not so much yet "X is going to be on the final", except as a student. ("Never an Analysis 2 final with Abel's Theorem."---of course, I didn't learn Abel's Theorem. Fortunately, not knowing Abel's Theorem for that exam doesn't seem to have ruined my life.)

Helen said...

Heh, that just made me think of a students:coffee::cats:catnip story --

A classmate showed up to a calc final looking a little off. Tense, jittery, red in the face, though trying to relax. I asked if he was ok. He said he might have had too much coffee. How much? I asked. Six pots. SIX POTS?

He said he wanted to be really really alert. His normal consumption was two pots each morning.

Anonymous said...

my cat loves stalking pens, and also does the belly rub request thing. maybe we should introduce them?

Citronella said...

Once when I was a kid our dog snitched a pen and chew so hard on it that she broke the ink cartridge inside. Her usually white paws and muzzle were covered in blue ink. It was extremely funny to watch her innocent air of "Me? what? snitching a pen and chewing on it? I would never do that. I'm way to cute for it."

Dr. Jekyll & Mrs. Hyde said...

Makes me think of the New Yorker cartoon where the cat is saying to the bottle cap, "So, you return to challenge the kung-fu master!"

I am always amazed at our cat's simultaneous passions for rolling in dirt, and for licking himself clean.

PhysioProf said...

PhysioCat also always flops on his back to expose the tummy for rubs whenever anyone gets home.

Susan B. Anthony said...

This and citronella's story remind me: Once I was doing a crossword on a plane and brilliantly decided to hold my pen in my mouth as I bent over to retrieve something from my bag under the seat. I sat up with a mouthful of blue ink. Freaked the flight attendant out but good. :D

Doctor Pion said...

I thought the hazard was going to be that the cat made off with one of the papers. Just the other day, one of our parrots tried to make off with a homework paper I was grading.