So, I've been experimenting with the "blood type" diet. I'm not trying to lose a significant amount of weight, mind you. But I am tired of feeling tired so much of the time. Part of the answer lies in getting more sleep, but part of it surely lies in eating better! According to this book, peanut butter and coffee are both good for me (I'm an A+ blood type). Given that those two items are my two staples, I'm very pleased.
My summer classes are going well, though I regret not having office hours in which to meet with my students. In my women's history class, I passed back a batch of papers today, and included my explanation of my grading ideas. It's attached here: students_often_ask_me_about_the_criteria_i_use_in_grading.doc Yes, I give more Cs than Bs, more Bs than As.
Invariably, students who get lower than an A ask me "what's wrong with my paper?" I always reply that a grade lower than an A is not evidence of wrong-doing. Students think a teacher should start out with a presumption of an A, and deduct points for errors. But I start out my grading with a presumption of a C, of averageness, and then look for signs that this paper is more distinguished than the others to which it is compared. Bs and As are only given to papers that exceed the expectations. The C is not a punishment, but an acknowledgement of requirements fulfilled.
I always ask my students "In a class of 40, would you rather be one of five As or one of forty, or does it matter?" Some students say it doesn't matter, but most tend to have that pleasantly competitive streak that would strongly prefer the former. That's how I always felt as well. Grades ought to mean something, and in that -- if nothing else -- I am decidedly old school.