Student Evals came in on Thursday. I was waiting for this moment all winter break. It was finally time to see what my students thought of me.
I’m going to interrupt my excitement to bring you a public service announcement. IF you ever find yourself in the unique position of reading your student evaluations right before you run off to meet your new set of students for the new semester – DO NOT READ THEM. Put them down and walk away.
Yeah, so I didn’t have anyone to tell me that.
I read them. I must say that I was very pleased, for the most part. They were asked what I did well and what I could improve upon. Simple. More than half of the evaluations actually wrote that there was nothing I could improve upon. I had some students write “She was great” or “she was amazing” in that section. I had a few who left that part blank, which I suppose I could have counted in the no improvement needed section, but for some reason I feel uncomfortable assuming that a blank space means I didn’t need to improve to that student.
Other places where I needed to improve were: I should have told whether I was liberal or conservative. That student couldn’t tell and it drove her nuts. (I would say I won the day on that one!!) Another suggested that I should use more hot button issues (I honestly have no idea how I could have included more without getting fired but ok). I had several say that they wish I had given them more feedback on the writing assignments (I had been told by the professor in charge of me that I was not to do that unless they asked for it individually, so totally a pass on that one), a few said they didn’t understand the grading system. And 6 students said that they felt I treated them like they were children. (Insert sobbing)
I felt terrible! I think I know who those students were because they were all lumped together and said the same thing (word for word) – and that was my bad class. They weren’t bad, but they were just that one class that was hard to get anything out of, and they were moody and I had to drag them along every single week. But really, I felt like crap. I would never ever want my students to feel like they were being talked down to – ever. They all had something good to say about me too, but it was just hard hearing that. It affected me entirely.
The worst comment is that one of my students said that she felt that I was so knowledgeable that she felt like she couldn’t come ask me questions because she would feel stupid. That broke my heart. I couldn’t work the AV equipment half of the time, so I don’t know how I appeared to be this unapproachable person who had their crap together. I said dumb things, I ran into stuff, I struggled with technology. It just made me sad that she felt that way.
Okay….now to the good. I had about 40% mention that I was knowledgeable. Actually, one said that I knew everything about the subject. Ha. Approachable = 6; Caring = 5; Respectful of everyone’s views = 13; Energetic and Enthusiastic = 21; Passionate = 5; Prepared = 6; Encouraged Full Participation = 18; Made Class Fun = 21; Good sense of humor = 10; Open Minded = 7
One said that he appreciated that I never yielded to the class when no one would answer my questions. Another said that I “made it worth coming to class instead of lecture. Learned more here. Enjoyed my time in here.” So yeah – that one said he/she learned more from my class than from the lecture (by a real professor). That one made me cringe because I don’t want a target on my back – yet it was still pretty awesome. I had a lot of great feedback. I am definitely taking the negative things to heart and will try to change them for this semester, and I hope I will have great feedback at the end of this semester as well.