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.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Poor Evaluation

I recently got my evaluations back for one class. This set was my worst evaluations yet. By worst, it means that out of five points (Five being excellent) most ratings finished with an average around 3.5 (just slightly over good). Still, the evaluations were not as good as in the past and compared to many other teachers, I received a lower evaluation score than they did.

Now I actually expected to receive a low rating. I know there were a few people in the class that did not like my style, or me. Still, I always look at the scores and the comments and see what I can learn from them and what I can change. Evaluations are important to me.

There was one student in particular who did not like me. The thing about this particular student was, he missed a number of classes and when he was there he was talking with other students and not paying any attention. How he could decide I was ineffective is really quite interesting considering he probably heard very little of what I said that semester.

I strongly toyed with the idea of throwing him out of class, at least for one or two session. While I probably should have done that, I could not bring myself to do it. These are college students and deserve to be treated like adults. I don’t believe a college student should be thrown out.

Still, I did no one any favors. The evaluation that this student filled out indicated he felt he learned nothing in the class. A few of the other students commented that if I throw this guy out of class, it would have helped their learning environment. That certainly is a valid point. By having him there, he distracted others and everybody suffered. If I threw him out, he would not have rated me any lower (there was not much room for him to do that) and others would have rated me higher.

It is hindsight, but I have learned and learning and seeing what changes can and should be made to the course, as far as I am concerned, is what evaluations should be about.