View Full Version : Interesting Comments About My Teaching


PoppnNSailinMan
07-16-17, 08:00 PM
When I was in graduate school, I did some teaching as a Teaching Assistant (TA) and in the last class of the semester, students in my classes handed in evaluations of my teaching. Someone in my department would then type up the evaluations so that I couldn't tell from the handwriting who had written them. I just came across those evaluations a couple of weeks ago and found some interesting comments.

I got generally good comments about my kindness, patience, friendliness, and accessibility, etc.:


“Very kind and patient person.”
“Was a very friendly, approachable, and creative instructor”.
“Is a helpful and kind T.A.”
“Very patient, open to questions.”
“Very patient – excellent classroom rapport. Very accessible.”


BUT there were also some comments that revealed my ADHD of which I was unaware at the time:


What improvement Would You Suggest? "He wasn’t very organized and didn’t seem to have a clear plan."
What improvement Would You Suggest? “A little more organization."
What Improvement Would You Suggest? “He doesn’t always respond as well as he could to students’ questions. It’s not that he doesn’t want to answer them, but just that he gets absorbed in his own thoughts and doesn’t really hear what’s being asked."
The Instructor’s Teaching: “Sometimes we would get bogged down and go off on tangents. The lesson would be clearer if it were presented in a more systematic and structured manner."

sarahsweets
07-17-17, 07:41 AM
When I was in graduate school, I did some teaching as a Teaching Assistant (TA) and in the last class of the semester, students in my classes handed in evaluations of my teaching. Someone in my department would then type up the evaluations so that I couldn't tell from the handwriting who had written them. I just came across those evaluations a couple of weeks ago and found some interesting comments.

I got generally good comments about my kindness, patience, friendliness, and accessibility, etc.:


“Very kind and patient person.”
“Was a very friendly, approachable, and creative instructor”.
“Is a helpful and kind T.A.”
“Very patient, open to questions.”
“Very patient – excellent classroom rapport. Very accessible.”


BUT there were also some comments that revealed my ADHD of which I was unaware at the time:


What improvement Would You Suggest? "He wasn’t very organized and didn’t seem to have a clear plan."
What improvement Would You Suggest? “A little more organization."
What Improvement Would You Suggest? “He doesn’t always respond as well as he could to students’ questions. It’s not that he doesn’t want to answer them, but just that he gets absorbed in his own thoughts and doesn’t really hear what’s being asked."
The Instructor’s Teaching: “Sometimes we would get bogged down and go off on tangents. The lesson would be clearer if it were presented in a more systematic and structured manner."


Its important to realize that when it comes to students, sometimes their evaluations are biased in the sense that if they didnt do well or well enough in class they are more likely to blame it in part on the professor.

PoppnNSailinMan
07-22-17, 02:49 PM
Its important to realize that when it comes to students, sometimes their evaluations are biased in the sense that if they didnt do well or well enough in class they are more likely to blame it in part on the professor.

I agree that sometimes student evaluations can be biased and that some of the students who gave me bad evaluations might have done so because they weren't doing well in class. Overall, I usually got good teaching evaluations from the majority of students with a few bad ones.

In addition to their comments, students were asked to rate me on a 5 point scale ranging from 1 = "Not at all," to 3 = "Moderately so" and 5 = "Very much so" on a number of different issues concerning my teaching. The different categories I was rated on with this 5 point scale included things like "Overall teaching effectiveness," "Communicates clearly," "Encourages student participation and discussion," "Motivates me to want to learn," and "Open and accessible during office hours," etc.

For "Overall teaching effectiveness," or "Motivates me to want to learn," I usually got mostly 4s and 5s with a few 1s from disgruntled students who probably weren't doing well in class. But even when my "Overall teaching effectiveness" was rated positively by the majority of students, I got a lot more middling ratings from a majority of students with more 3s for "Communicates clearly." This was, no doubt, a reflection of how my ADHD impeded my ability to teach to some extent (and I wasn't even aware at that time that I had ADHD and was untreated).

In the example above where a student commented, "He doesn’t always respond as well as he could to students’ questions. It’s not that he doesn’t want to answer them, but just that he gets absorbed in his own thoughts and doesn’t really hear what’s being asked," that same student ended the comment by saying, "But it's a small quibble with a very generous, hard-working teacher." So that comment was probably from a student who gave me a positive evaluation overall but nevertheless made an accurate and perceptive observation of something that I was doing a lot in that class during the semester. And not hearing people when they're talking to me directly is something that I still do all the time even now (and which drives my partner crazy sometimes). It's also one of the 9 inattentive characteristics that is used in the DSM to diagnose ADHD: "Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly."

And the comment by one student that "Sometimes we would get bogged down and go off on tangents" is also a good and perceptive comment since I still do that all the time, too. My partner even told me recently that it would be nice to have a conversation with me sometimes which didn't get diverted on to some tangent. I think that there's some hope that once I start taking a stimulant like Vyvanse for my ADHD that this problem might be fixed. LOL...But I'm not sure if that's a realistic hope or not.

And, I'm still pretty disorganized now, as well, so those student comments about my lessons needing to be more organized are, I'm sure, accurate comments.

Cyllya
07-24-17, 05:03 PM
think that there's some hope that once I start taking a stimulant like Vyvanse for my ADHD that this problem might be fixed. LOL...But I'm not sure if that's a realistic hope or not.

I feel like my ability for verbal communication is pretty heavily improved by medication. (And insufficient sleep makes it worse.) When I'm off meds (and/or sleep-deprived), the words out of my mouth are such a mess. Sometimes I just forget what I'm talking about partway through a sentence and just go quiet while I struggle to remember what it was. Sometimes I'll get a few words in, then think of more info that needs to be said, so I do this weird verbal u-turn and detour, and then hopefully get back on track a few words later, but possibly do the same thing again in the same sentence. If I'm trying to do a physical action while talking, I'll likely have a working memory fail on either the speech or the action. It's a wonder anyone ever understands me.

On meds and reasonably rested, I think my verbal skills are still crummy, but way better than my untreated baseline.

If you're still in the process of being diagnosed, these evaluations could useful data for your doctor.

InvitroCanibal
07-30-17, 12:46 AM
Openness is an opposite to conscientiousness

The feedback that you received rated you as being relatively open (Open to Questions, Patient, approachable etc)

In general, people that prefer structure and organization, are usually turned off by openness. They can see it as being unprepared while others will see it as though you left them some room for their thoughts and questions.

Anyways It's the same feedback basically. Just different people.

Sir5r1
08-27-17, 01:20 AM
The Answer to this is Structure in Content and Pedagogy. I had a lot of trouble when I created my own Curriculum but found that when I used a structured curriculum I knew where to "Begin" and where to "End" each lesson, in other words set goals and objectives within the timeframe of a class. Next goal is eliminating procrastination when grading and not leaving it to the point where it can be overwhelming.