My student evaluations always suck rancid contaminated swampwater, which isn’t that surprising because I teach a difficult and a demanding subject. I gave out some extra ones this summer, a semester that I thought was going very well, to try to get my ratings up (my raises depend on them, after all).
I got them back today AND THEY WERE EVEN WORSE THAN USUAL!!!!!!! My programming class, which I thought was a very good class, just ripped me absolutely to shreds.
They said that I, among other things:
- Don’t explain course requirements (my syllabus is five pages long)
- Don’t have a good command of the subject matter (???)
- Don’t have an effective command of the English language (that’s the only language I speak)
- Lack enthusiasm for the course material (???)
- Don’t respect students (not if you’re being rude or inattentive, I don’t)
- Am not available for extra help (what the hell are these ten hours a week of office hours where I sit here waiting for students to come for help, and why the hell do I check and answer email every couple of hours even at night and on weekends)?
Yet when I am in front of a class trying to teach, probably 3/4 of the students are either doing their homework for my class or are doing homework for another class…
WHY DO I KEEP BEATING MY HEAD AGAINST THIS BRICK WALL????? WHY DO I KEEP TRYING TO EDUCATE PEOPLE WHO HAVE NO INTEREST IN LEARNING????? NO MATTER WHAT I DO, IT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH, DAMN IT!!! WHY DO I CARE SO MUCH THAT THIS UPSETS ME??????
I put my heart and soul into what I do, into everything I do. I expect no more of my students than I expect of myself. So when I do the best I know how to do and I get blasted for it, it’s like a knife cutting deep into the core of who and what I am.
At this point, if there were something comparable that I could be doing for an alternative living, I’d be seriously looking into it.