19 June 2008

Um, right.

I hate getting my class evaluations back each semester. No matter how many wonderful or glowing comments there are, I inevitably focus on the few students who were unhappy with the course. It's especially hard if the class they are evaluating is one that you put extra effort into and/or is one that is your subject. I got my spring evaluations today, and while J says that they are quite good--enough for our schools list of super duper incomplete teachers--they still bummed me out. For instance, if you wanted to read a bunch of British canonical writers, you should have dropped the course after day one--the syllabus wasn't going to change. And if you don't want to read that much, you probably shouldn't be taking a lit class at all. The worst was one student who called the class "ill-conceived." It doesn't matter that I can tell who it was--and that she wasn't even in class half the time, or that there were 10 others that said that the class was great and one of their favorites. I take it too personally, I know. The most frustrating?? The ratings of less than excellent for the consideration and quality of grading. You'd think that a page of comments would be enough-- apparently not.

But I suppose J is right; they really aren't bad at all--far above the average ratings for a university course here at Prairie U. It's still frustrating to see the amount of comments that claim there's too much work, that there should be only 1 essay question on the exam, and that I should make them read less. right.

But in the interest of finding the bright side- here are a few of my "favorites":

"I think the grading process is rather tough, but not impossible to obtain a good grade"

"Important notes for each work should be on slides. Taking notes by hand is out dated and too hard to get everything down"

"Love the outfits"


jeffersonian said...

It sounds to me like you're operating under the assumption that students are attending your class in order to engage in the process of learning.

There are a limited number of things that could be wrong with that assumption. All of them are horrifying and disappointing.

LD said...

I agree-- and part of my frustration is that I'm on the track right now to be doing this for my life's work. blech.

Jennie said...

If there is one thing I have learned from teaching a giant class (where students feel more free to roast you, because you're just a figure in the front of a large lecture hall and definitely not a real person), it's that you must re-read course evaluations again in a few months. The first read, for me anyway, always stings because I too focus in on the one hater of the bunch and somehow twist that into everybody thought my class sucked! In a few months, it's easy to recognize that you can't please everybody. And you will be shocked and amazed by all the positive comments that didn't sink in the first time. Oh, and it really doesn't matter if you know this all to be true--somehow that first read still manages to depress even the most experienced of teachers.

Angela Williams Duea said...

Wow. At least you dress well.

I would SO love to take another Brit Lit class. Found you through blogher - hi!


Anonymous said...

So after spending my year in the horrifing world of corperate america i found that 99% percent of the desicoins made are bassed on some type of servey, and while this is good information it is often very biased, most people that fillout these survias have there own agenda and most often than not it is not in you favoror, i Have found that just follow the survey often hurts more than it helps. So i would say take in the information then forget it, and stay true to your self, and your main gowl wich is to educate, and by focusing on that i thionk you will certanly influnce and chnge some minds and lifes