I've been on this assignment for about four full weeks now, and things are pretty much falling into a normal routine. One thing that I have been doing is asking the advanced high school art students to give me their own critique of their work, before I grade it. I don't think this is asking too much, and more than once it has resulted in kids going back and putting more effort into their projects, just because they realized it didn't live up to their own expectations.
So, yesterday, when a very quiet, shy Junior girl (who I've had in various classes since she was a Freshman, including a previous 5 week long-term job) turned in a fantastic rendition of the human eye, I asked her, "out of 30 possible points, what do you think you've earned, and why?" Right away she gave me a number much lower than what I thought was fair. When I asked why, she pointed to a small section of slightly uneven shading (that I thought looked great). I then asked her if she really thought she should lose so many points for such a minor error. At this point she started to turn bright red, wouldn't make eye contact and started muttering, "I don't know." After a few seconds of this I realized she was trying not to cry; so I let her sit down and cool off.
I felt like a monster. But, seriously, did I do something wrong?