Thursday, December 20, 2007

Exams, emails, blogs, mittens... evaluations

My students are taking exams and turning in their portfolios this week. Because many of them care absolutely nothing about the our class until the end of the term, when the idea that they might get an "F" occurs to them, I am beset on all sides by students who attend class so rarely that I can't quite remember their names - but who are desperate to convince me that they should get a B in the class.

That might be one of the worst sentences I have ever written. Forgive me. No time to edit.


If you have emailed me and I haven't gotten back to you, be assured that I will. Sometime. Soon.


If I haven't visited your blog be assured that I will. Sometime. Soon.


I am making mittens. But I think you already knew that.


My students filled out evaluations for my classes today. For those of you unfamiliar with the world of academics: students fill out a form giving feedback to the instructor and the department about the course and the instructor's teaching methods. The rule is, you give the students this form and leave the room so they can fill it out without you seeing what they are doing. Preferably, you do this at the end of a class and ask a student to turn the forms in to the department for you, so that the forms are never in your possession until after grades are in.


Today my students told me that they were confused by why I was leaving the room while they filled out the forms. "Why are you leaving?" they asked. "Aren't you going to go over our answers with us?"

I told them no. I explained the procedure and asked where they got the idea that their responses were less than confidential. Mayalinda, one of my "A" students, replied, "All the teachers here do it. We fill them out and then if we don't give them a perfect mark they ask us why and then they can change it if they want to. That way they don't get into trouble with the school if they don't get good evaluations."

I'll just close by saying that no amount of money or fear of having to leave New York City would persuade me to work for Panic Hire University again next semester.

Real post tomorrow. Promise.


susan said...

One semester I baked cookies for the last day of class. Students were giving presentations, and I bake excessively during the winter months anyway, and I thought it might be nice to make a huge batch of "Nieman Marcus" cookies (urban legend yes, but actually quite good cookies). Then I realized that I had forgotten to hand out the evaluation forms, which I usually do the second-to-last class, so I had to have the students fill them out that day. I spent the rest of the week feeling guilty that I had inadvertently bribed my students...

Nina said...

I used to bring my students food all the time. Sometimes on the last day, I'd get pizza and give out awards. Then I got burned out (yawn) and now I only bring them smarties for exams. But anyway, that's not bribery. They know the difference between sugar and a good teacher.

Wait. Do they? Hm.