I’m currently reviewing the final drafts of the essays which I painstakingly corrected a month or so back. I meant to write something about that at the time – how marking essays is a curiously intimate thing, although ultimately (especially when there are fifty of them) mind-numbing. To read and correct the words and thoughts a student has put together in the solitude of books and a computer screen is quite a privilege (admittedly undermined by the interminable ‘I’ll help with your student literature essay’ websites). But it really is quite lovely to see that a few essays have made some significant improvements after heeding my comments. One student emailed me for more detailed feedback and emailed me straight back again to thank me. And that was nice.
As an undergraduate I could barely read the comments on my essays, I was so nervous. This process is also making me think of my phd – the tireless detailed notes my supervisors left on draft after draft, and how, slowly, after about a year and a half, I finally got what they meant.