Thank You Sir, May I Have Another?
So this semester, for the first time ever, I've started doing "mini-evaluations" after every other class. Here's the logic: If I know I'm doing something wrong early on, I can actually fix it. I know - genius, right? Because honestly, by the time I get the official university evals back, it will be the middle of October, and I won't even remember much about this class. And - did I mention it will be the middle of October? Meaning any egregious teaching errors I made will be repeated for the first 7 weeks of a new semester? Great system, isn't it?
But the kids, they were angry this week. They didn't do so well on their last midterm. Well - that's a bit incorrect. They did "average" - which is about right. Average means that's how most people do (or am I wrong? Isn't that the gist of "average"?) But in spite of the fact that this state school isn't exactly considered a public version of the Ivy League, I'm still shocked that my students expect As for, well, existing, it would seem. So their evals were pretty pissy. As the saying goes, though, "You asked for it." Indeed I did. Here are a few of my favorites: WARNING: Not recommended for children or those easily offended. Severe sarcasm, bitchiness and very "Unteacher-like" behavior below.
- For the exam, you need to narrow down the study guide more to the specifics of exactly what will be on the exam. Oh. I see. You need me to give you a copy of the actual exam. Duh. What was I thinking? My bad. See, I thought that the point of most courses is to learn about a particular body of knowledge, not memorize a bunch of exam questions. How silly of me. I'll be sure and distribute the final a few weeks in advance.
- You need to stress to us how important it is to read the textbook. Gosh. I don't know why I didn't think of that. I thought since I give you quizzes every week to motivate you to keep up with the reading, that might be enough. I also thought that putting it in the syllabus, including some page numbers from the book on the study guide and, well, saying, "You need to keep up with your reading" you would get the fact that I think reading is important. Next semester, I will be sure to sing it, while performing an interpretive dance so you have a better chance of understanding that you need to read the textbook.
- Tell us what is important and what is really going to be on the test. I'm sorry. I thought by saying before certain lectures, "Now, this will be important for you to know for the exam," that's what I was doing. If only I weren't so vague in my communications with you. For the rest of the semester, I will hit you over the head with a styrofoam bat every time I discuss something that might be on the exam. This will result in constant hitting, but over time I think the numbness in your skull will actually help you become a better human being.
- Give more extra credit. Interesting. When I first started teaching, the concept of extra credit in college was about as foreign to me as young women parading their muffin tops across campus. But since I am insecure, neurotic and a people-pleaser I got on board right away. And you know what? I also tried to assign things that would actually inflict learning on your underfed, underworked little brains. The last time I checked, I have given five (5) extra credit opportunities this semester. The thing is, though, you have to be in class because that's when I assign extra credit. Sorry about that. Would you like me to visit you in your residence hall room so you can get extra credit without coming to class? Or do you mean I should come up with a few options just for you, that include, oh, "Have sex with your girlfriend and then write a paper about it"? Let me know what would work best for you. I'm all ears.