I’m always a little apprehensive to read the student evaluations for my courses. I think I’ve mentioned this before (here, here, and here, for instance). There’s this part of me, I suppose, that fears for the worst every time.
Last Friday was the day I finally had a chance to open up the evaluations from my spring and summer courses and enter the data in them into the spreadsheets that I use to track my performance over time.
The news, thankfully, was quite good. The students, when asked whether or not they disagreed (=1) or agreed (=5) with the statement “I would rate my professor as an excellent teacher,” gave me a 4.96 out of 5. Not bad.
And very happily, not one student strongly disagreed with the statement. So over the course of my career here I’ve still only had 2 students do so. That comes out to 0.28% of my students. I don’t have anything to compare that to, but it strikes me as a pretty decent rate.
The raw numerical data is probably what tends to get noticed by an administration, of course, but some of the written comments were fantastic. My favorites:
From my Tolkien course:
- “Best class I’ve ever had.” [Except for the next one of mine you take!]
- “Very enthusiastic and makes this course extremely interesting. He makes you WANT to come to class.” [I love that all-caps there!]
- “He is the shit.” [In the parlance of our times I understand this to be a good thing, not a bad thing.]
From the Viking class (the harder-to-please Honors students):
- “It was a clinic in badassery.” [Because it was about Vikings, you see.]
- “Awesome professor. Easily one of the best + most enthusiastic in the school.” [From an Honors student this is high praise indeed. Very gratifying.]
- “He is smart, clever, and challenged me to think.” [I swoon just reading that last bit: I challenged thinking!]
All in all, it’s a relief.
And now that the semester has begun, I can only hope to do so well with this crop!