I am, as you may know, knee deep in essay and dissertation marking. As always, work goes from the absurd to the wonderful (though nobody has approached the Olympian heights of Ed's dissertation).
One of the worst aspects is marking poor work by people you either personally like, or whom you respect for their abilities. I have infinite patience for people who work hard but still struggle, and none for the lazy or dishonest. But it's emotionally draining to mark down or fail people when you know they've worked seriously hard. Responsibility is an issue, especially with dissertation supervision. If the piece has failed, isn't this an indictment of my supervision?
They say at PhD level that a supervisor shouldn't allow a potential failure to be examined: if they tell you to send it off, it's probably OK. Does this apply at undergraduate level? Of course, some people haven't bothered attending much supervision. Others have turned up to chat about ideas but not provided written material for discussion. Yet others present work you know is weak and all you can do is cajole them into the right frame of mind.
Anyway, light relief tonight: I've got a free ticket to see Karl Spain, a comedian who is supporting Ed Byrne in town tonight. He'd better be funny: I'll be sitting next to his cousin…