We all know what happens at the end of term. We receive a small folder from our Dean or Chair. It contains a packet of pages, half of them scantron-style and the other half open-answer worksheets. Our students are about to lay down some wisdom on us, and let us know how we could go from sinner to winner with just a few easy steps.
"Adjust your style of dress!"
"Add more lectures!"
"Stop lecturing so much!"
Be more interactive / less interactive, more vibrant, more stodgy, less reading, less assignments, more As, fewer Fs. Do what I want, but not what they want, and come down harder on disruptive students who are not me.
We've all received these pearls of wisdom, and we have all struggled with how to make adjustments, to be "student-centered" without sacrificing the content. And we have struggled with the peculiar tendency of all positive remarks to go unnoticed, while that one ore two negative remark sticks with us for months.
I stopped reading these, years ago. Once it became separate from my ability to get teaching work the following semester, I stopped caring about the bull shit students advised me. It almost always dealt with my dress, hair, marital status, or other sexist crap. One student thought I was too focused on misuse of technology during class time. Whatever.
I bring this up today for one reason: last month I gave a presentation to a large group of roughly 200 professionals on using technology in the classroom. They provided feedback for my presentation. These are peers of mine, people whom I respect. And I had to steel myself as I clicked on the links to get my results.
Out of 80 respondents, I received glowing reviews. One of the most popular presenters. And two assholes who felt that I was Captain Obvious or Redundant Rita.
For the life of me, I cannot remember the wording of the 80 praising evals. Only the two negative ones. Can't shake it off, even when the opinions are from people I actually respect.
Evals are evil.