So, I got my first set of evaluations from the course I helped teach this past semester. It's a big organic chemistry course required for entrance into the professional school, so the students are pretty driven to succeed (which can be a good thing and a bad thing when teaching them such a difficult beginner subject). There were ~280-300 students in the class, and about 260 of them responded to the course evaluation survey (we give a little bit of extra credit for participation in that, it seems to work). Overall, I got a good grade from the students. Most of them strongly agreed or agreed with positive statements about me, and most of them gave me an A or a B when asked to grade my teaching performance. So quantitatively, I did okay for my first experience teaching a subject I have never had a class in to 300 people!
The written comments were the best though. Overall the most common response to "What was the best feature of Dr. X's teaching?" was something along the lines of "She went at a good pace, was easy to follow, explained things well and her notes were really helpful." However, my most favorite responses were:
- "Her facial features. She is probably the most beautiful teacher I have ever had."
- "HER HOTTNESS (two T's)" **(sic--"two T's" was NOT added by me, lol)
- "She's much better looking than Dr. Y. She also goes slower"
- "she's pretty damn hot"
- I was not a student in her lab **(I did not teach lab--I lectured to them in class for about three weeks)
- "Honestly I do not really remember"
- "I really liked how she taught in lecture. I felt she taught the class like we were stupid and had no clue about what she was saying, which really helped me make sense of what I had read before class." **(is this a good thing or a bad thing??)
It was also amusing how even though the positive comments tended towards the "pace and explaining were good" theme, the negative comments were overwhelmingly about how I would take the overhead away before everyone was done copying it down and "pace was too fast and you should explain things better" (even though we barely made it through my allotted set of subjects, and even had to skip a few things, because I was going pretty dang slowly in reality). I think what I really need to do (and that some of them noticed and suggested) is to balance the lecture topics better, to not drag through the beginning stuff so that we have to fly through other things at the end.
Having such a big class can be really hard, but it also makes for much more amusing evaluation responses because everyone feels more anonymous. I had a really good time reading these, and I think I did learn a lot from them--I'll have to see how the themes change over the years, and hopefully I'll always get a few reinforcing my own inner belief in my "HOTTNESS."