Well, it seems that some of my composition students are dissatisfied with my performance.
Students at TCC are given an opportunity to provide feedback on both the course and the instructor. So far, five students have completed the survey (though why they’ve done so now, before the class is over, I don’t know). They’re asked these questions about my performance as an instructor:
The instructor provided constructive feedback that was helpful to me.
The instructor communicated expectations clearly.
The instructor knew the subject matter well.
The instructor showed respect for all students.
The instructor was accessible outside of class.
I would recommend this instructor to other students.
I’ve earned a 69% average – a C- in TCC’s grading scheme – from these five students (don’t ask me how the math works – I have access to a report that has all the numbers figured already).
I was rated with a “strongly disagree” by 40% for the first two statements and 20% for the last four. 40% “strongly agreed” with the first two statements, 20% with the second two, 60% with the fifth and 20% with the sixth. The average was rounded out with answers of “no comment” for several statements and a smattering of middle-of-the-road “agree” and “disagree” statements.
Am I bothered by this? A little. I’m not taking it too much to heart, though; this has been a profoundly difficult semester and I don’t feel as though I’ve really had an opportunity to connect with my students at all. I’m betting that, had we been able to spend even the allotted class time together (absent the holidays and snow cancellations), these students would indicate my performance more favorably. My suspicion is that they feel just as disconnected from me as I feel from them. Disconnection is not conducive to productive learning environments.
Still, I AM taking a lesson from these assessments. While I recognize that I can’t please everyone even some of the time, it is important for me to try. Have I done my best teaching this term? No; if I’m going to be honest, I have to admit that I haven’t. I’ve certainly done an adequate job – if I were to give myself a grade, I’d put me firmly in the B range – but I’ve not rocked the class. I’m going to stand by what I said earlier, though; I’m only responsible for PART of a student’s experience in my class. If you don’t come to party – or, in this case, to learn – you may as well stay home.