Semi-annual Teaching Evals

After all my bitching today about how many students have dropped my class this semester (for the record: 6 out of 19), I was feeling pretty crappy about any sort of teaching ability I felt I had. I don't know if students realize that profs take it personally when they drop the class - but some of us do. I like to think that the workload for my course is reasonable (midterm, exam, 5-pg book review, a few quizzes) and that my lectures are, at least at times, interesting and relevant to their lives. It's anthropology, after all, which is hard to make boring.

At any rate, today I got my teaching evaluations back from last semester's Human Osteology course, and I was quite surprised. I felt like I was a cranky harpy the entire semester, fueled by pregnancy hormones and my inability to deal well with students who came in late or skipped class. I mean, really - if I could get my ass up at 6am to shower, take the bus to school, and set up a weekly bone quiz all before 9am while feeling like I had mono the entire semester, surely they could haul themselves across campus from their dorms. But apparently they liked me and they liked my class.

All my scores averaged over 4 (on a scale of 1-5), and all of them were consistently higher than the departmental average for anthro courses taught that semester. I got a few 3's (which are "don't know" or "not applicable"), but only one 2 (disagree). Unfortunately, it was in "The instructor treated all students with respect." I'm very curious about this; mostly because I'd honestly like to try to do better. If a student feels I am showing him or her disrespect, I'd like to change my behavior; but I have no way of knowing who it was or why s/he said that. My highest result was in "Overall, I learned a great deal from this course," which was a 4.7 average. Not surprising, as only a handful of students come in with a human anatomy class under their belts. My lowest was "The instructor provided me with helpful feedback on my performance," with a 4.0 average. And 8 of the 15 students checked Yes for "The instructor was one of the best I have had at UNC, fully deserving of a teaching award." Awwwww.

Fortunately, my lecture in 101 went well, and there wasn't a lot of bitching about midterm grades. The evals, though, definitely saved my evening from being really crappy.


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