Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Ramping up the despicability quotient

On the one hand, we have cheery notes from students grateful for the great experiences they've had in my classes; on the other hand, we have a bitter complaint that causes me to wonder who in that class might be familiar with the spelling of "despicable."

Yes, it's the time of year when an entire semester's back-breaking labor gets reduced to a handful of numbers and incompatible comments on course evaluations: the student who wants to banish all poetry from the survey class or the one who wants me to require no papers in a writing proficiency class, with "best class ever" nuzzling right up next to "worst class ever." I get variations on these every semester, but I pay more attention to the real oddball comments, like the one that called me "a despicable person." What did I do? I don't recall ramping up the despicability quotient in any of my classes.

Hey, maybe that student is a fan of Despicable Me, which could be good news if the role comes with minions. Even one minion would be enough to offset the disadvantages of despicability. So sign me up!   


Contingent Cassandra said...

Any chance that (s)he thinks it's a compliment? Maybe context suggests otherwise, but, if not, I wouldn't rule out the possibility. Stranger things have happened.

Bev said...

No, the rest of the comment makes it pretty clear that it's not a compliment. But that's just one student. The rest are better.

Mark Jackson said...

You've just written a blog post explaining why I stopped looking at my student evaluations more than a decade ago.

xykademiqz said...

Isn't it amazing? You can always count on haters.

In a large class, I always have 1-2 people who just hate the essence of my being. This year, one kid was sitting in the back in seething fury all semester; never asked for help, just occasionally let out a comment that showed me he hates me and the class and just everything.

When all of the class of 80+ gives a teacher 4's and 5's and you give them 1's and 2's, I would say something is really wrong with you. What I wonder is who are these kids and what is in store for them. They grow up to become the annoying adults who think the world has wronged them and whatever they dislike is anyone else's fault but never their own.

Except when you have a small class and get a douche student and you are on the tenure track and that douchey evaluation can really hurt your career. Then my sympathy for the douchey student starts to wear thin.

My husband says I am nuts for still reading reviews (tenured for 5 years). Probably. But they are mostly great and not reading means I miss out on all the great and heartwarming stuff, too.

Anonymous said...

Well, if they were a writing student and could spell the word "despicable", perhaps you made some headway!


Bev said...

Ooh good point! I had several students this semester who demonstrated some familiarity with the thesaurus but, alas, not with the dictionary: they would spell words correctly without knowing quite what they meant. This one, though, was pretty clear.