My desire to have the students experience the pride of writing a near-perfect essay is in contrast to other instructors, who have criticized me for correcting all errors and spending the time necessary to teach each student how to correct the errors. These instructors are afraid that students will feel inferior or depressed when they realize they have made more than a few errors. When I grade an essay, I explain to the student in writing why he or she did not earn an "A"; I edit the essay to the point where it would have earned an "A." I give the student something concrete to aim for.
Because I invite students to write as many essays as they like, they are not necessarily penalized for a poorly-written essay. Also, grades at the end of the semester have more weight.
My goal is to have students feel confident when required to write an essay or do a research paper in any subject area: philosophy, history, psychology, etc. In addition, since many courses that I teach are literature courses (American, British, World Lit), when a student expresses love or admiration for a particular work of fiction, I am ecstatic: one more soul won over from the dark side of ignorance and numbness.
Professor Susan Chalom, PhD