A few days ago, I came across an old course evaluation. Every time, I’m afraid of these evaluations. For no particular reason. There are always one or two students who complain and/or criticize. But most of them are satisfied or even happy. (And I cannot make everyone happy–one or two critical responses are perfectly fine, I think.)
Here are my favorite evaluations:
Fiona is fantastic, I always enjoyed attending!
(This one also added a drawing.)
Great and relaxed atmosphere! […] Keep it up!
She is wonderful! […] Best course!
I said before that I enjoy teaching. And reading these evaluations tells me that I’m doing the right thing. And that I’m doing it right, despite the occasional doubts.
In addition to these evaluations my courses are always crammed. I guess that’s also a love letter, in a way. Students share the interests I have. And many of them come back.
At the beginning of this semester, I had to send thirty, forty students home—I didn’t have any seats left. I have one student who doesn’t even need the credit points. I like this one—he gave up his seat to let someone else have it. He assumed that the others would really need the credit points. He wanted to attend because he is interested in the course topic. When he came back the next week and asked if he could ‘just attend,’ I couldn’t refuse. He even offered to do some assignments to help the other students.
(To be honest, refusing interested students is always very hard for me. My department often reminds me to be ‘not so nice’—they don’t want me to have too many students and too much work. I guess I am really lucky with my department—I cannot imagine that many ask their adjuncts to work less.)
Thank you, my dear students, for your verbal, written, and symbolic approval.