There is nearly no way to answer this question definitively as it will depend on the individual teacher. While there will always be teachers at one end of the spectrum or the other, teachers will read essays as they see fit. Most teachers do at least look over most essays.
Although the majority of teachers do read through their students work, there will be definite variation on how detailed this evaluation is. What aspects a teacher focusses on will depend on the subject, however students should aim to produce their best work and not just hope it receives a cursory glance.
The purpose of the essay has a lot to do with what the instructor is seeking. For instance, if the purpose is to practice a new skill, such as subject-verb agreement, the professor may be looking for improvements in sentence structure rather than content.
However, if the same teacher is seeking content such as a report on the fall of Ancient Rome or the life of Adolph Hitler and the point is your research and analyzation skills, then they may absolutely be checking for every single part of the required essay.
Your English or writing instructor is more likely to read all parts of an essay than others might be. The English instructor is often looking for citation style, writing skills, and research skills.
However, the psychology instructor might be more focused on content than whether or not you misplaced a comma. However, this does not mean that the psychology instructor does not care about grammar or structure and a science teacher may look for your grasp of key concepts rather than the grammar or language use.
However, even if English is not your first language, you should always make as much effort as possible. Often a percentage of grades and marks are reserved for style and presentation and language will be part of this.
If they aren’t reading my entire paper, can they really tell if I plagiarized? Plagiarism comes in many forms. Sometimes, papers contain more source information than analysis and interpretation. How can a teacher determine what you have learned about a topic if none of the information comes from your mind? Overuse of source material is a red flag.
Likewise, source material that is poorly paraphrased or summarized is also a red flag. In an English course, your teacher is looking for the skills you have gained. Paraphrasing is more than changing word by word. You need to use your own words, not a thesaurus. Students who use a thesaurus often choose odd words to replace other words.
If you have no in-text citations but do have a Works Cited or Reference page, this is also a red-flag. These flags are obvious when grading. I have often sent papers back to students to ensure that they use in-text and citation pages because I need to know what statements are facts and what is analysis. I can quickly scan for parenthetical citations.
Most of these things are easy to catch just by glancing. Teachers sometimes do a quick scan before reading the paper. It’s easier just to scan and then read papers that are not off-topic or plagiarized.
The key here is to remember who is reading your work. Your teacher will have likely done this hundreds of times. Where some papers may not need to be gone through with a fine tooth comb, others will have alarm bells ringing with experienced teachers.
Its not just red flags that will make a teacher take deeper looks into students work of course! When work is exceptional it will be noticed and teachers will go through it in more detail to look for examples to show the class and to hold up as good practice for other teachers!
The short answer is that you do not know which teachers will or will not read my essay. Since most teachers at least partially read your essay, you will want to do as good of a job on your essays as possible.
Some teachers may appear to be lax or lazy, but that does not mean that they do not have a purpose in assigning things. Often, teachers assign essays to demonstrate skills learned throughout the semester, term, or year. You, too, should want to ensure that you have learned these skills. Your next class may depend on them.
You might think that if teachers don’t read closely, you shouldn’t do a good job. However, many of these skills are not about learning for a classroom. Good communication and writing skills are crucial in the real world as well.
You may see poor writing skills on social media, but poorly written business documents, applications, or letters give people poor impressions. Even when applying to places like Burger King for an after-school job, you should write clearly and carefully.
Misspelled business names and poorly written explanations in applications can prevent you from getting a job. Once you seek higher-level positions (management in retail or fast food) or professional positions, the stakes get higher.
Likewise, if your teacher this year doesn’t read essays, that doesn’t mean the next one will not. If you don’t practice the skills, you will not get better at them. Next year, semester, or term, you will not be prepared to do the work expected by the next teacher.
No teacher wants to hear, “but my last teacher didn’t…” Do your best on all assignments because you are practicing skills.
Finally, you never know when a teacher will suddenly leave or take a leave of absence. If you are in the middle of the essay, you may suddenly get an instructor who is a stickler for these papers. You will need to be prepared to perform at the higher standard.
The essay is a common form of academic writing. A great essay must have an introduction, body and conclusion.
Most teachers do read the papers they assign their students. No teacher wants to go through the process of designing a detailed assignment and then just ignoring it. Many essays require a long process of writing, editing, and rewriting.
Teachers get invested in the success of their students and want to see that work pay off. If you are a high school student, these skills can help you write a spectacular college entry essay or scholarship essay. As a college student, these essays are designed to prepare you for critical thinking and researching information for yourself.
They also assist you in creating stellar application materials when you are ready to graduate. No matter what level your education is, good communication skills are vital. Do a great job and assume your teacher is reading.