Wednesday, August 31, 2005

From the peanut gallery

While I was unpacking my various boxes of files in my office the other day, I kept an eye open for all my old course evaluations -- thinking after my mention a few posts ago that it would be fun to relate some of the extremes of opinion. Didn't find them, however, and slowly came to the realization that I must have accidentally tossed them during my move. Argh!

But then, when all seemed lost, I came across this year's batch, which had escaped because I'd stowed them somewhere in a different file folder.

I usually get a handful of crushingly bad reviews, and was going to post some of those -- but I guess I must have been doing something right this year, as I didn't get any that were really malevolent. Too bad, really -- they can be kind of funny.

Most of my bad reports this year were kind of predictable ... the usual batch of people complaining about my digressions and tangents in lectures or that I'm condescending or unapproachable. The biggest complaint this year by far however was my diction. Here's a typical complaint from English 117 (pop culture):

"Your level of diction (though impressive) at times makes understanding course content difficult and more confusing than it actually is."

I like the "though impressive" qualifier.

I guess I must be improving or something -- no one really seemed out for blood. Usually there's at least one. I think the worst I ever had (perhaps deservedly) was from my course on cynicism and apathy that I taught for MIT. Here's a very close approximation:

"This guy was awful. He was so high on himself but couldn't teach to save his life. He made me want my money back. He shouldn't be allowed to teach university."

I laugh at that one now, but at the time it had me depressed for a few days.

But then there are the good ones. A not-so-random sampling:

""Really enjoyed this class. Most interesting lectures I have attended in my three years." (Pop culture)

"It was a pleasure to attend lecture." (Alternative Realities, MIT)

"I found Professor Lockett both interesting and articulate. Rather than lecturing for the entire class, he had the desire, ability to draw his class into discussion, enquiring. This I found stimulating, engaging." (American Lit) (nice comment, but I don't think I communicated the basics of grammar, language to this one)

"The class was excellent, informative and fun. I have nothing to suggest other than to continue teaching the way you do." (American Lit)

"Good job. Lectures are interesting, even the digressions." (Alternative Realities, MIT)

Then there's the damning with faint praise:

"Decent enough professor. Seems all right." (American Lit)

"Covered the course material in his lectures." (Pop Culture)

One of my favourites:

"Enthusiastic and funny. Dr. Findlay kept me interested!" (??) (Pop culture)

And the ones that are just funny:

"Funny but sticks to the subject matter. Well groomed." (American Lit) (I do like to look my best for class, it's true)

"Excellent professor. Likes his cat a little too much." (Pop culture)

"You rock, sir!" (American Lit) (party on, student dude!)

"He was distractive because I found him attractive!" (Pop culture) (can I go back and give this person a retroactive A+?)

OK, this has turned into a bit of a self-love fest. And yet I don't care ...

I wish I hadn't lost the old ones ... the kill-the-prof comments really are worth a read.


syl said...

I guess the only evaluation I can give is this:

"Professor Lockett's speech to the first year students day after day after day still kept me interested. I learned some really interesting facts. His use of the word "gamet" still rings in my head and has allowed me to use it on more than one occasion."

mr. tomas ubik said...

You mean your name isnt Doctor Findlay, err. sorry.

hahaha that was going to be the extent of my comment, then i went down to the word verification part of this new blog spam prevention system and it says...

please type the following to enter your comment



mr. tomas ubik said...

even security algorhythms hate the states.

Avik said...

I never knew profs took student evaluations quite so seriously. I know I never took prof evaluations seriously... If I did, I might have lost my drive in pursuing that shiny piece of paper with the gold seal that cost me $50G.

Of all the places to end up Chris, Newfoundland? Wha the...? Who did you piss off? I knew the earing was too risqué for the Ontario highbrow types dans les institutions.

Chris in NF said...

Avik, baby, where be you these days?

Contrary to popular belief, St. John's is not a backwater ... there's more cool stuff here than there ever was in London, and besides which, you actually get a landscape worth seeing. Come visit, I'll introduce you to George Street and get you screeched in ...

Just tell me that eval from Cynicism wasn't you. :-)

avik said...

i'm slowly planning my coup of every super power in the world so that i can establish myself as global emperor. i think Speech143 will come in real handy.

i'd like to tell you that the comment wasn't me. there's a good chance i wasn't in class that day (i like to think of my time at western as something of a happy mirage), but chances are it was. i like to leave an impression, y'know how it is.

Anonymous said... have no life

stop wasting your time making useless posts.

get a hobby.

perhaps boating? or camping?

um yeah...peace