Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Someone Wants to Talk About the Correlation of Easy Profs and Good Evaluations

I began teaching 3 years ago at a mid-sized undergraduate college. It's amazing how much I've changed in that amount of time and what I've learned regarding human behavior.

Unfortunately, I'm one of those people who worry too much about my evaluations. It's not that I really care what college students think of me, it's just that I work very hard to be a good and fair teacher, and I get frustrated when students don't see that. Besides, student evaluations are the primary indication of teaching ability at our school.

I also get annoyed by the correlation between good and easy when students rate professors on student evaluations or on Rate My Professor. When I read comments like "XXX is the best professor at XXXX. It's impossible to make less than an A. Exams are the study guides. I wish all teachers were this good," I get frustrated.

My classes are particularly challenging due to the subject matter. I do what I can to make the material as clear as possible. But, no wonder students sometimes say negative things about me on my evaluations....not everyone makes an A in my courses and you have to work particularly hard in order to do well. How can I compete with other professors who give out grades like they are nothing?

Just once, I'd like to see one of these 'good because they're easy' professors get a comment like, "What's the point of this class? I do not have to go to class or study to make an A. I have learned nothing new since taking this course.... what a waste of time!"