Saturday, April 8, 2006

One Professor Is Starting to Get Comfortable

I would grade my abilities as an instructor in the B+/A- range. I'm still learning how to be a teacher, but I work really hard to teach my students what I know. I'm slowly breaking bad habits, things like failing to make eye contact during lectures. I don't always project confidence, and I've never been comfortable in my own skin. A number of students are put off by this. But I'm into what I teach.

I work my ass off to build rapport and open dialogue with my students. I spend many hours a week preparing for my classes. All of this is accurately reflected in my class evaluations. So it can be disheartening to receive a bad review online.

Actually, whether they're good or bad, very few of these online posts offer constructive feedback. But yesterday, I received the rare negative review that told me that I am heading down the right path as a teacher.

"Does not look at students. Told us that B is the highest grade possible, except if you do outstanding work. 3 books. 2 Exams. 3 Papers. 4 Quizzes. Now you make up your own mind."

Now, as it turns out, the syllabus mentions only one exam and no quizzes at all. The papers are responses to essay questions, not research papers. However, this is not a 100-level class. We have work to do. If you don't want to do it--well, that's what add/drop is for.

I guess I'll keep working on the whole eye contact thing. But I'll be goddamned if I'm ever going to give another A for work that isn't outstanding.