Favorite Place to Grade

For a long time, before they revamped and expanded and all of that, I was a big fan of sitting at Uncommon Ground (the original on Grace) for extended grading sessions.

I’ll put in time now at The Magic Cup and The Kopi Cafe if I want to stay close to home, and Caffe Cafe if I’m close to work.

And if I have to pick a chain, I’ll choose Caribou.

Where do you grade? And throw in a why if you want to put it off a little longer…

9 thoughts on “Favorite Place to Grade

  1. Grading? You’re still grading? 🙂

    Anyhow, I’m pretty boring when it comes to grading. I do most of my grading in 1 of 5 places: the couch, my dining room table, the L, my desk in my HW office, and room 1046.

    I have graded in public from time to time. Several years back, before I was at HW, I found myself at a bar on a Sunday afternoon throwing back a few guinness while grading. That was fun and highly unproductive. I’m not mature or focused enough to grade in public. I’m too interested in other people’s conversation and what others are doing. That’s why I stick to various desks, the couch and the L (standing or sitting). Oh yeah, I prefer there to be music playing, preferable not the radio due to the incessant advertisements.

  2. I like the Book Cellar too and go there when I can but I live on the South Side so I like to go to Cafe 57 right next to my house. I like grading in public. Somehow it is easier to focus. My most frequent place to grade though is my dining room table usually starting at 5am. I love the early hours. The place where I NEVER grade is my office – can’t concentrate, too much foot traffic, and lots of busy activity all around.

  3. Favorite places: Noble Tree Cafe, Dollop, Sip Cafe, Intelligentsia (East Lakeview).

    Least favorite place: Anything involving the here and now.

    Experimental places: Art Institute- Since we have free admission to most museums with our faculty ID, I’ve gone to the Art Institute, plopped myself in front of a painting, and graded papers. The big museums have plenty of bathrooms and usually a cafe too. The key is to go during a week day while everyone is at work. When you need to take a break and re-invigorate your mind…well, I don’t need to explain how that works. I mean no offense to the brilliant papers my students write, but looking at some Picasso kicks butt.

    Lincoln Park Zoo: I tried grading papers in front of the lions once. Not highly comfortable seating, however. Perhaps I picked the wrong animal.

    Overall Strategy: I stuff my bag full of papers, head out the door, and start walking. When I find a suitable location, I start grading until I cannot grade anymore. Then I start walking again, get the blood flowing and refresh the mind. When I’m ready to grade again, and find a new coffee shop, I sit back down and get to it. I’ll walk a good chunk of the north side by the end of the day. During the summer semester, I’ll grab my small folding chair, pack some food, and head to the lake shore or various parks.

  4. I’ve graded at Kopi Cafe and the Book Cellar this week–and I’m still grading! I only have two courses to go, but they’re fairly long papers. I also grade on my sofa or table, but grading at home is difficult, what with the 4 cats and (almost) 14 year old son. When things are quiet, I can also grade successfully in my office. I’ve been teaching in one capacity or another since 1993–when will I learn to assign fewer papers?!

  5. Home. Though never peaceful, home is where I am least distracted, and I am constantly distracted.

    I haven’t graded at work in years. The idea of carrying all the papers home then carrying them somewhere else is just too much for me. It’s just an extra commute that I don’t have time for.


    For me? The laundromat with the very lonely owner asking me what I’m doing. Or maybe at the pool hall between games.


    • I used to grade at the Launder-Bar on Southport, thereby quadruple-tasking by ordering cheese fries. Quintuple if you count washing as one thing and drying as another. I’m sure I’ve graded in stranger places, but the strangest I can think of was a deer blind.

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