Friday, January 06, 2006

Report Card

The Packet came this week. The Packet contains an enormous paper clip and my self-esteem.

The Packet contains my professor evaluations from the previous semester. Forsooth, they grade us.

These shouldn't trigger such heart attacks, but they do. Most students finish filling out the sheet by the time the classroom door has clicked shut behind me; there is no greater expression of the gulf between my attitude and theirs over the whole thing:

ME: Ohhhhhhhhh. Ohhhhhhhhhh! They're in there! Judging me! They hate me! I know they hate me! I'm getting fired! I'll never teach again! I'll have to sell velvet paintings of tigers in gas station parking lots for my day job (vomits)!

STUDENTS: We get to leave eight whole minutes early!

YOU try giving a hundred and twenty-five 19 year olds a piece of boss-directed paper in which they are encouraged to anonymously express exactly how much you suck at your job. See how calm YOU are.

I averaged better responses than last semester ("Often showed up to class inebriated"). Some included comments. A sampling:

"We had class every day."

"I liked her clothes."

"She used too much class time."

"I was offended when she made jokes about the French."

"Please conduct class in a more mature manner next time."

This last one, I fully expect to see a varient of written on the hand of God when I die: "Please conduct your life in a more mature manner next time." This particular student had issues with the fact that I constantly insert personal anecdotes into class, ones often involving me looking stupid, because those are the only kinds I have. But they are always prefaced with "Please do not do the following," so in addition to the fact that three hours a week of technical writing instruction are all about ME ME ME ME, I am always attempting to impart hard-won wisdom, such as the fact that one might not want to do things such as this.

fetal positioning at:


Laney said...

Your personal anecdotes may bother some, but they make you a great blogger. So who cares? My favs are the cooking anedotes. They make me feel like I'm not the only one.

You make fun of the French? Like how? I love making fun of the French, and democrats.

MissDirected said...

Um, I'm sorry. This is America. Who doesn't like making fun of the French? I mean, unless it was someone from France, then that would be a bit different, as you should only make fun of the French behind their backs, at least if they are in your class.

I openly pointed and laughed when I went to France, something I encourage all to do.

Anonymous said...

I'm a college student, and I've always wondered--how honest should we be in the evaluations? Really, do they change anything about the class? Or do they just exist for the sole purpose of freaking professors out?
-Rosella, 25, Stillwater, OK

Russell the Reader said...

What you really need to watch out for is the student who begins taking notes on the back of their notebook at the beginning of the semester. That's where I write all my evaluation-related stuff so I'll never forget that my instructor forgot their entire PowerPoint and then proceeded to repeat the same five minute lecture to fill two hours. I would confiscate all notebooks before evals.

Anonymous said...

Screw 'em! Just screw 'em. Stinkin', pretentious, arrogant, zit-faced poseur, pissy clowns.

Anyone who complain about anti-French jokes should be put down before they grow up to be John Fake-Irish Kerry.

- [I've gone and forgotten my damn password! Maybe I can blame it on Bush . . .]

DB said...

Hey MB - great blog...I'm sitting at work giggling instead of working. Just linked from your MSNBC commentary on Jon Stewart hosting the Oscars and, YES, they should call YOU to host!! You are the queen!

amy lou the reader said...

Evaluations are so difficult. As a student, I always tried to be positive but honest.

Because my college is so small, I'd feel horrible about giving a bad evaluation then bumping into that professor in the cafeteria.

Your anecdotes are great. I would love to have you as a professor. Some students are just academia snobs who take learning too seriously (I knew a few like that).

And, like laney, I too enjoy making fun of the French. And Democrats.

Nicko McDave said...

One student in my sophomore year philosophy class had a great rapport with the recitation TA. They would spend the entire hour having a dialogue about the previous night's readings as the rest of the class listened in awe. (Also, both of them looked like 1950s beatniks.) On judgement day, the TA left the class early while some university dork passed out evaluation materials.

As soon as the beatnik TA was gone, the beatnik student began reading the form aloud as he was filling it out. "'How do you rate your instructor's competence on the subject?' He sucks!"

The worst reviews are going to come from those with whom you have the best rapport.

Barbara Palumbo said...

I recently read your piece on Jon Stewart hosting the Oscars on MSNBC, and I just wanted to say that I think you need your head examined if you think Will Smith is funnier than John Stewart. Will Smith is great - I'm from West Philly, and we're very proud of Will...but he's more amusing than he is funny. Jon is funny. Watch his show. He has what most hosts of the Oscars lack...the ability to be funny without a script.

Anonymous said...

What kind of 19-year old tells a prof to be more mature? I love profs that have a sense of humor and who aren't afraid of making fun of themselves. I'm sure I'd love your class! I know I love your blog :)

WanderingUpNorth said...

"Please conduct class in a more mature manner next time"

MB - Clearly you don't understand the galactic importance of this class you're teaching. I can feel the Earth spiraling into the sun from here. Stop messing around before we all die in some horrible space/time accident that not even Bruce Willis could prevent.

Planty Hamchuk said...

My biggest issue with academic evaluations is that I'd rather be able to fill them out when I drop a class. If a teacher is truly horrible I'll just drop the class anyway.

2xgtld said...

MY favorite ones are when I get the following:
1) There was too much material for the course
2) She said the same thing over and over
Ok, which one was it? Too much or not enough?

This is similar to the following sets:
1) She lectured too much
2) We did too many group activities

1) I like how enthusiastic she is
2) She is too informal

Again- I repeat- and do not contradict myself- which one is it?

But I have learned that the only group you can make fun of while teaching are those "hypothetical" BAD writers/teachers/whatevers that of course, you class would NEVER be...

Teacher of teachers- 38, Rhode Island

Anonymous said...

I started responding to all of these in this little box, but then was all, "Screw it, I'll just make it a post." See you up there.

kelebek }{ said...

Ah, the evals. The power of the unsharpened golf pencils and little bubbles to fill. And a nice empty backside to tear the professor apart in my "additional comments." Mwhaa, haa students on power trips.
Ok, I am kidding I am not that mean. In my university most profs have tenures, so I often wonder why on earth are we filling out evals. I did though fill out an icky eval for an icky TA I once had.

Golum said...

Just think what Professor Snape would do about student comments. Go ahead... picture it. Trust me - it will make you feel better.

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