This year the grading broke me.
I mean, it wasn't the grading, it was the online homework that many students didn't complete that broke me. I didn't check it until the very end, as I usually do (because it's time consuming), but this year, I decided I was going to be more strict and really take points off for late submission. After all, they were aware of the deadline. Until... I realized that several students had NOT done the work.
And some of those were really good students who were doing well. Some of them contacted me after the final yesterday, when they saw the damage their lack of homework had inflicted on their grade. Some of them actually had a good reason -- that made me think that I could maybe bend the rules, but I can't do that for the past, only for the future -- they said that they left the online homework to do before the final so they could use it to study. Fair enough, but still, I had already taken points from everyone for lateness and it would take A LOT of time to go change everyone's grades at this point (8 lessons and several hundred online activities to scroll through in the report).
It's technically their fault, not mine, that they didn't do the work, but I feel horribly guilty and broken nevertheless. I contacted a student (who was not doing that well and who had done next to nothing of the homework, at the time I hadn't yet checked the other students), but I must have written the wrong words, because this student responded back with a negative tone and... worst of all, even after I wrote that the work could be accepted late (but for less credit) this student didn't get the work done. (and didn't do well in the final). It's hard not to feel it's partly my fault, because I contacted the student trying to help and it had the opposite result. :-(
I keep telling myself that even though the assignments are in the syllabus, I should have emphasized in class that they NEED to be done. And I do think I said it a few times. I am quire sure that the students knew that they were 20% of the grade.
I still feel broken. And I feel responsible -- because I was the one teaching more classes than I should and not putting in more time into working with my students.
I'm sad and upset about all this. There is no way to really fix it. I have allowed some students to do the rest of the work for partial credit even though I didn't want to. Students with As on the final exam and Cs on their homework. :-(
This will be bitter a lesson, for them and for me. I wish the end of this semester didn't have to be bitter like this. I hope next school year will be better. I feel this semester was the worst one ever. :-(
Edited to add: I'm feeling a little better and more hopeful after grading some compositions and getting ready to leave everything ready to submit once the "late work" I'm allowing is submitted. Sigh... I hate grading. It's like passing judgment one someone, I just don't like to do it.