When you ask students to write a cumulative final essay in a world history to 1500 course, you are going to get a lot of “since the dawn of time….” beginnings. And I can’t even really complain.

How is it that I can read the first six papers in one hour, and then take another hour to read the next two?

I just have a hard time continuing to read an essay with the phrase “immeasurably extensive” in the first sentence.

Seriously, if I’m looking at a two-line title and thinking “what does that even mean?”, it’s not a good sign.
A current grading technique (and I don’t know why it took me years to come up with this) is to underline everything important. The thesis, a key piece of analysis, a topic sentence that clearly states the heart of the paragraph. The advantage here is that it creates a strong impression that I’ve read and commented upon the paper, without actually requiring much effort from me. Though I don’t know why I scribble on final essays anyhow.

Circling typos is also useful for this.

Unfortunately, I get bored with both those things about halfway through.

How many times do I have to tell students not to use contractions in their essays? And jeez, how hard is it to recognize that apostrophes are not plural?

Can I go eat yet?