It seems like Watson has taken into account some of the feedback she’s gotten on being a harsh grader, because this semester the grading seemed pretty generous to me - when I worked hard on the first draft, scheduled a conference, went at least once to student hours, and did the revision activities in class, I got an A or A-. When I slacked or turned in an incomplete first draft, and didn’t put enough time into revision, I got a B. It might seem like a lot of work for one essay, but there are only 3 essays total across the semester, and the whole course is dedicated to those 3 essays. Class discussion was engaging, especially when students were into the text (like Jazz by Toni Morrison). I got lucky because I had a relatively small section and we had a good vibe as a group, so that made the discussions more interesting because everyone chimed in. I think Watson did a good job creating a classroom environment where everyone felt comfortable speaking, but again, that could be my class group too. A lot of people complain about their FYW classes - check out the reviews of other professors as well - probably because they’re coming from high schools where they’re used to doing minimal work and getting As (or even doing that in other classes at Barnard). You have to really work for an A in this class. That said, I got a higher grade for the semester than I anticipated because of Watson’s extra credit policy and her generous credit for participation.


3 essays, 3-4 HW exercises leading up to each essay, plus first drafts.