Tuesday, June 12, 2007

You don't know me like that...

So, my seniors are done tomorrow. I don't know what to feel about this. They are the last group of seniors I will teach at my current school. After I finished reading their finals, here is what I have found out about my teaching skills:
"I was always really intimidated by you."
"...you are very patient, even when our clas was going crazy."
"...try not to be so hard on grading."
"I think you wear your emotions on your sleeve too much."
"I think you would do better in an honors class wher you have more students yearning for you remarks instead of getting offended when you tell them the truth."
"One of your weaknesses as a teacher is that you might challenge us too much at times..."
"...take the time to talk to each student and explain better why the notes you wrote were very important in helping to write a better essay."
"One strength that stands out to me would be choosing topics for us to discuss. They always have a valid reason and are still interesting for us to discuss."
"I honestly enjoy you 'harping' on me. It makes me want to come to class, or know that I have to get a good grade, or at least a passing one!"
"I feel like one thing you could work on is trying to be more understanding of the level we are on. Sometimes this year it felt like you expect us to be way better at writing then we were."
"You are great at what you do. you are here to help your students, guiding and pushing them through every step of the way."
"I think you should be more strict on students."
"I consider your weaknesses are your sarcasm and how hard you grade."
"Honestly, I wouldn't change a thing about you as a teacher. By far one of my favorites in my 4 years...All of your students respect you because you respect them as individuals."

Synthesis:
I am an emotionally driven, sarcastic teacher who harps on students to do their best, but I don't understand the level that their "best" is at; therefore, I should be more strict while maintaining my patience which intimidates students causing them to enjoy valid discussions.

I feel so much better now.

6 Comments:

At 3:20 AM , Blogger Dennis Fermoyle said...

Mr. McNamar, I think you should feel great! The compliments were very nice, and nearly all of the criticisms were things I would actually be proud of. The only exception was the comment about sarcasm, but there was only one of those. It sounds to me like you definitely have the respect of your students. Best wishes for your move to Connecticut!

 
At 5:25 AM , Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

I get lots of verbal feedback from my students, and I think it ends up being more honest since it is not just a chance to rant. I get tired of hearing how we need to be understanding of "where we at" (from a comment a friend of mine saw constantly) and the like, because obviously the point of an education-- to improve from "where you at" and to grow. But there is no way I am interested in the litany of whining that would come from a written feedback form. How many of those same kids have come back years later and said they were glad to be challenged? You'd be shocked. I know I am.

Of course I'm going to challenge you as your teacher-- and of course, many are going to resent it because it's been years since they were challenged. That's what teaching is all about. Low expectations feel better, of course, but that's not who most of us are as teachers.

 
At 9:07 AM , Blogger dclh said...

I think you should be proud, and glad to receive useful feedbacks, except those like "...not..so hard on grading."

In my country, it may be slightly better as most guys have gone through army training, i.e. they know what is sarcasm and 'harping' :)

 
At 4:44 AM , Blogger mrschili said...

I get this sort of feedback, too. I ask my junior college students to write me letters at the end of the term, and they sound almost exactly like the examples you've posted here. My feeling is that as long as the comments are as balanced as they usually are, I'm doing everything right.

 
At 10:26 AM , Blogger OKP said...

These are words and phrases I see, too. I agree with Mrs. Chili about the balance of the comments.

I also direct the students to answer about themselves some of the questions I ask about me. If they get to inform me about "the instructor participated actively" and "the instructor came prepared," then they can also reflect on themselves the same way. Sometimes I see changes to my evaluation that are obviously added after the reflection portion.

You can't please everyone; you take all the comments under advisement and decide which are valid. And you make your change, if there's change to make.

But keep the sarcasm!

 
At 10:34 AM , Anonymous Debbie Pope said...

Oh, Andrew!

I sat here eating my breakfast -- crunchy red berry ocrnflakes with non-fat strawberry yogurt poured over them -- as I read your student comments.

I chuckled. A few times, I snorted.

Isn't it funny? What one says, another turns around and contradicts.

One of my favorite comments from my evals this past spring was:

"Ms Pope is a fantastic teacher! She's the best! She always challenges us to do our very best. The problem is, I don't like to be challenged."

I had to put the stack down to recover.

Shaking my head.

But I'm with you.

Cheers,
Debbie

 

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