Thursday, May 21, 2009

It's course evaluation time!*

And so far I've seen (paraphrased, of course):

Labs/TA were horrible
Labs/TA were okay
Loved lab
Labs were informative and relatively harmless (I would have laughed even more if it had said 'mostly harmless' and referenced the HGTG)
TA is elitist (Because I wouldn't give this person a second make-up date for a quiz they missed, never mind that I didn't have to give them a first one)
TA is responsible and patient

Boring lab material
Exciting/interesting lab material
Lab books sucked (This I totally agree with.)
Quizzes should only test us on what we've already done in lab, not the reading we're supposed to do to prepare for lab (Sorry, that's what the purpose of those quizzes were, since none of you read the labs in advance until I started giving quizzes!)
Had to do all the questions (under "What did you find annoying?")
Needs more group work
Needs less in-class work
Why do we have to come to labs anyway when we can just do the work on our own? (Despite the workbook lab manuals that we had to teach from, mostly because that's the point of being in a class, and not teaching yourself from a library book.)

And my favorite, in answer to "Would you recommend this class to a friend?":

"In the event that I acquire any friends, I would think it not advisable to start our relationship talking about school. Perhaps music, or Darfur?"

I have no idea where that came from, but it was awesome.

*Note the false cheerfulness in that title. What I really mean is, "I care, but that's moot at this point because there's nothing I could have done about the crappy lab books, and I'm not teaching next semester so I won't have any input in the future."


volcanista said...

I always love how unhelpfully contradictory evaluations are. How can I give less, more and the same amount of feedback??

Callan Bentley said...

"Longer field trips"
"Shorter field trips"

That's my contribution to the fray. I got them in equal numbers the past three semesters while I've been paying particularly close attention to field trips. But there's always a FEW more "longers" than "shorters," and so I keep going.

You're right; They contradict one another. This inconsistency is consistent. Having taught for ~7 years at the college level (2 as a TA like you're doing, followed by ~5 at various colleges and universities), I can say that this is a completely typical batch of evals. Don't take it personally. Reflect on different people's different needs so that you're cognizant of them next time, and move on to more pressing matters.


PS - I'm amazed you got them back so quickly. I don't get my spring evals. until October!

The Ridger, FCD said...

What I love is when we get them stripped of all identifying material - and I mean all, including what course it was. So helpful.