One of the things about teaching college students is that I am subject to teacher/course evaluations after each course is completed. I only read the evaluations; I don't read the awful Rate Your Professor websites. Those websites are run by college students who obviously have no idea what it is like to be teachers. Even though I do believe in free speech, at the same time I don't appreciate having my reputation trashed on the Internet. (I've heard that the websites get a lot of new comments after final grades are posted. Coincidence?)
I've been getting a lot more positive evaluations since I first started teaching, and I've gotten some constructive criticism too. It helps to know if the students would prefer to use more outside articles in class, or if they found the group work to be helpful. It's good to know if they want to spend more time learning how to review their peers' papers.
On the other hand, a lot of the time I get nasty comments from disgruntled students; they typically read something like this:
She is a BAD PROFESSOR because she only cares about stupid stuff like citing sources and thesis statements. It's not like I'm ever going to write another paper after this class. I'm going to be a ROCK STAR and I don't even need this class.
She's too condescending because she wouldn't change my grade. She gave me a D which I DID NOT DESERVE. It's not MY fault if I turned in the paper late. I have other homework and I can't be expected to turn in everything on time.
She is too young to be teaching college. I know WAY MORE than she does, because I took AP English and I got a B in it. (Yeah, that's the same as getting a master's degree and a Ph.D. in English.)
She is MEAN. She got mad at me for sleeping in class. I don't feel I should be disciplined for that, especially since I did show up for class every day. (You mean you slept through class every day.)
She gave me bad grades because I didn't profreed. Why should I care about grammer anyway? I wont need it when I become riche.
She kept calling on students who she should have given up on. She ignored students like me, and that's not fair because I am always right. (This was from a student who got mad if I didn't call on him for every question, and would actually interrupt other students when they tried to answer questions.)
She was never available for office hours. (This was from a student who didn't show up for an appointment because she said she forgot about it, and she got mad because I wasn't willing to wait an additional three hours for a more convenient time for her to stop by.)
Reading evaluations like these drive me up the wall, especially because my department supervisors read them. At some schools (though not the ones where I teach, at least I don't think), how many classes you get (if any) depends largely on student evaluations.
I admit that it does sting to read the nasty evaluations, because no one likes to read mean things about themselves. For me, the most important things are making sure my students learn what they're supposed to learn, and making sure that they respect my role as the teacher. Making sure they like me is less important, though it's not like I'm unfair or cruel to any of them.
I've actually had more than one student say to me, "You shouldn't be so strict with us. Our tuition pays for your salary." Really? So does that make you my boss? Maybe I should give you an A right now, even if you did show up late every day, spent more time texting than taking notes, and didn't even bother to bring the textbook to class most of the time. It's not like you're in class to LEARN, right?
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