Sunday, December 9, 2007

A Newbie Proffie Is Already Wise Beyond Years Concerning Student Evals.


You've written some mean things about me on the "Grade Your Professors" section of MySpace. I'm sure it was cathartic, soothing, fun, or whatever exactly you had hoped it would be. What's strange about this is that your peers seem to disagree with the things you said about me.

Many of my other online evaluations are beyond good -- they're actually quite stellar. What I find particularly interesting, however, is that the official written, signed evaluations collected by the university were overwhelmingly complimentary. Even the ones that expressed a desire for something to change did so in a generally positive, constructive manner.

In particular, in response to your "Lectures are SO boring" quip, I could present 5 signed student evaluations denoting that I, unlike many of my fellow math teachers, went out of my way to bleed my enthusiasm for my subject and to make my classes engaging.

Anyway, you can feel free to write whatever you like on your online forum. I realize that you begrudge me because you were forced by your degree requirements to take college algebra. I know that math isn't your favorite subject, and I'm truly sorry about that. I know that your view of college is akin to a vending machine; you insert your thousands of dollars, press "B9," and it spits out a degree. I understand that challenging you in any way offends you to your very core, and I'm willing to bet that I was guilty of this.

Actually, I'd like to thank you for teaching me a valuable lesson. Last year was my first year in graduate school, and I sincerely hope that it was the first in a long sequence of years of teaching. I would like nothing more than to make a career out of what I'm doing right now. If I'm going to survive these years that I hope are before me, I am going to have to grow a thicker skin. It's going to be important that I am able to ignore your cheap shot from behind your protective cover of MySpace anonymity.

That's why it's important that you understand the following: If you would like to make a comment about my teaching, yet you lack the chutzpah to sign your name to it, then you are a coward -- but more importantly, I am simply not willing to give a shit about you or about anything you say.