If using the number-comment system or writing on the draft itself, handwriting must be legible. One of the most frustrating things for a student is to see the teacher's comments scattered in the margins or on the last page and not be able to read a word. Commentary does not help the student's paper or the student's writing ability if it is illegible. If I cannot read a teacher's commentary I personally ask him or her to translate the scribbles and zig zags into English. This conference takes time away from the teacher's other work. Ironically, a lack of time could probably be a reason why the handwriting was illegible in the first place. The teacher writes the commentary fast so she can go on to the next paper in her 16-inch stack. Therefore, for the sake of time management, it is in the teacher's best interests to write neat commentary. If the teacher simply has bad handwriting there are other options to avoid frustrating the student. These include typing the comments on a separate sheet of paper or using a cassette tape recorder.
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