For those of us who teach larger classes, I suspect some of the dread stems from the idea of having to read the same answer (or at least what should be the same answer) time after time after time. Certainly, in the years where I’ve had over a hundred students in my Introduction to Property course, this has been a significant factor. How many of us would go to the same movie or read the same novel a hundred times? But repetition cannot be the only explanation — I also teach much smaller classes and don’t enjoy the grading any more.
Grading can also expose the fact that there is a difference between teaching and learning. I have not found it uncommon to read an answer and wonder whether the student ever came to class or read the materials. “Executory vested remainder” can never be the correct answer to any question on a Property exam as no such thing exists. At the same time, all of us know that not everyone who attends law school should be doing so. Finding the occasional failure among the examinations should be unfortunate, but should not trigger such dread. Also, you would expect this to be more relevant for introductory classes rather than more advanced ones whose members have already shown some competence. Fearing student failure cannot be the full reason, for our grading discomfort, therefore.
The last reason I’ve come up with is one of potential misdirection. When we grade an examination and find it wanting, are we also saying something about our inability to teach? While, like most other professors, I can articulate many reasons why students’ failures are their own responsibility, maybe the dread of grading we feel originates with a feeling that it is our failing not the student’s.
So, assuming that you also dislike grading, do you have a reason?