Teaching as an adjunct can be a lot of fun. It is also challenging. As I have encountered a number of situations, I realize such a blog can be helpful, both to me and to others.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Good Evaluation

I previously wrote about the student evaluations I got from one of my classes last semester and how it was my worst evaluation ever. Now, I have received the student evaluations from a second class I taught last semester (Same school, different location, and obviously different students) and it is actually the best evaluation I have received to date.

I take evaluations seriously. I look them over and see what changes, if any, I should be making to the class and to my teaching style. Certainly it was rewarding to see this evaluation, especially after the last one. Still, one thing which I think these sets of evaluations point out is, a lot of how the class goes depends on students.

I like to have a lot of class discussion. I like to give students freedom to speak their minds and I try to create a loose and relaxing class atmosphere. After all, delivering speeches is tough enough, if it s a laid back class, it helps to make it easier for students to standup and give speeches.

That being said, when you have a student who disrupts class, when you have students who do not want to speak in class (via a structured conversation), when you have students who have just decided that lectures are boring and they are not willing to give you a chance, it is hard to make the class interesting.

As mentioned in a previous post, I talked about how some students don’t understand the movie clips I show or why I show them. I set them up but some students just want to be spoon fed everything and do not want any type of creativity.

Yes, I as the teacher am ultimately responsible for how the class goes. Not only is it a ‘Buck stops here’ mentality, certainly when things do not go well, I have not handled things as effectively as I could have or should have. So yes, I deserve a large part of the credit or blame when it comes to evaluations. Still, the students also help to create the atmosphere and attitude.