I don't hate marking. Most of my colleagues think this is nuts but I think marking can be an effective way to communicate with my students. As a TA I have a limited number of contact hours and commenting on written work gives more more opportunities to talk to students about their ideas, their writing, and to identify problems. I mark all the time because I have my students do lots of low stakes writing for me. I make comments and ask questions in the margins of this work rather than assigning grades so that we can start conversations about writing and content before they write something worth 15 or 20 percent of their final grade. I like this kind of marking. I want their first marking experience with me to be constructive but non-evaluative. This optimistic view on marking does get tested, however, in the face of 36 first year papers about the same play.
My students's writing has the same issues that all new-to-university writing has - a thesis statement that is more a list of interesting things they noticed rather than an arguable claim, and prose that is needlessly complex because of the misguided notion that university writing should be 'fancy'. Most of my students have only been in university for 6 weeks and they are struggling with new ways of learning. They've been given writing formulae drilled into them by well meaning high school teachers and they cling to those old rules for dear life in the face of new ways of writing. I am also used to their expectations when it comes to grades. The "70 is a good mark - no really" speech is always a shocker to students whose grades have slowly inflated from Grade 9-12. But I teach this class every year. These things don't bother me. What gets me frustrated is the all the stuff I went over with them. I explained quote integration to them and offered a hand out. I talked about MLA, posted a link to the guidelines and showed examples in more than one class. I said over and over that they didn't need to clog up their essays with phrases like "The famous Greek play Agamemnon...", or "The World renowned playwright Aeschylus..." because if the play is on the syllabus it is important - no need to sell me on the importance of Greek Tragedy, kids! I reminded them over and over than they had to state the line numbers of the passage they were analyzing in the first paragraph so I could follow along. It is these things being overlooked, or ignored that get to me. It is in these instances that I feel like I am shouting into a paper bag. And yes, I know, this will be a lifelong frustration if this whole Prof. thing works out - but still.
So, yes, I do like marking. I like when I can see a student take to heart a comment I made on a lecture response, free write, quiz, or essay and apply it to future work. It is thrilling (yes, thrilling) when the penny drops for someone and she realizes that 'writing fancy' not only prevents me from understand her but makes it harder for her to write. And when they come and see me and say that my commentary helped them understand exactly why they got the grade they did - so so satisfying.
But seriously, staple your papers, guys. Come on!