Friday, August 18, 2006

teaching evals

I finally went to get my full set of teaching evals from Intro Bio Lab. A few weeks ago I received an email with my averages out of the 5 point scale, and they were quite good. Being a brand new TA though, I was a little afraid at what might be listed under "things to improve."

They were really great evals. I'm going to miss the teaching, but not the giant time suck that it was.

Under things to Improve:
-Organization: Fair assessment. Some labs I had to run around and look up answers or find equipment. Strangely, other people listed organization as a strength.
-Use of Time: This one I'm not sure how much I could have changed. Some students are much much faster than others. Not fair to rush the rest, I think. Also, one wanted the review at the beginning of the class?? How is it a "review" if you haven't seen the material yet?
-Emphasis on Material: One comment hit home because I'm sure it was true. It was along the lines of "makes certain topics seem like they aren't worth knowing." Ooops. There are certain subtopics of this class that are really boring and/or pointless to me. That does not mean I should give my students that impression.

Things done well:
-Explanation of Material: Apparently I'm good at answering questions in a way my students can easily understand.
-Reviews/Review Materials: I gave out a review page at the end of almost every lab. They LOVED me for this. I once went two weeks without one due to lack of time, and the following week one student said, "Yes! I love these!"
-Enthusiasm: I got this one a LOT. I really do love my field. I think I was purposely trying to show my true enthusiasm because many students come into this course thinking it is going to be deathly boring. I wanted to avoid that mindset from the beginning.

My favorite comments:
"Honeybee is awesome!" (smiley face)
"Honeybee was a really great TA." (and other slight variations"

and the winner...
"Honeybee rules the biology world!"


At 1:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great job honeybee! Of course they were great evals!

At 4:29 PM, Anonymous Abel Pharmboy said...

Good for you and good for your students to have someone like you at the TA helm! Heck, even when I get great evals there are usually 8-10% who would spew hatred and bile no matter what I did. You, my friend, have a gift, a series of strengths, strengths that must be fed, nurtured and cultivated further as your pursue your path.

Be sure to keep these in a safe place for when you apply for faculty positions - they might not matter for postdocs unless you do an educational postdoc but, believe me, they will give you an edge for any academic position where you might have a substantial teaching component.

Hearty congratulations! *clink-clink*


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