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Making the Grade - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
Making the Grade
I just stumbled upon my rating as a professor on MySpace. The statistical sample is a little small for anyone to take seriously. But it amuses me, just as it does when I read my course evaluations, that students consistently say, both that they learned a lot in my class and that it was easy. My not-so-humble response is that degree of difficulty has a lot to do with how well the professor teaches. The hardest courses I took as an undergraduate were the ones presided over by professors who had already checked out or never really checked in to begin with.

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13 comments or Leave a comment
From: batdina Date: July 27th, 2007 04:37 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I get evaluations that say the exact same thing, and I believe what you say about it too. I've never understood why kids think learning needs to be painful, you know?

Then again, the evaluations from ninth graders are so generally depressing I often fail to read them in a timely manner. And my all time favorite was from a kid at Cal who said that I gave him a C because I hated his politics, not because his papers were incoherent.

Plans for the weekend?
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: July 28th, 2007 06:00 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
We get those critics of "liberal" teaching too. The only consolation for the depressing evaluations are the few that pleasantly surprise.

We're cleaning the carpets with a rented steamer this weekend. And going to the movies.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 27th, 2007 05:57 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Eh, I don't know. My best professors - the ones I've learned the most from - have been not necessarily the "hardest" but definitely the ones who expected the most from me.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: July 28th, 2007 02:53 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Interesting. My general philosophy is to try to get students to expect more from themselves, for themselves. But maybe that's the same thing.
cpratt From: cpratt Date: July 27th, 2007 06:03 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Great reading lists? No bullshit? That definitely sounds like the Charlie Bertsch I know!
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: July 28th, 2007 06:01 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Thanks, Chris! It means more coming from you than just about anyone else.
kolakoski From: kolakoski Date: July 27th, 2007 11:57 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I like your take. Relatively new to teaching, I've never been sure how to interpret similar evals.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: July 28th, 2007 06:01 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
It's a rationalization, of course. But if you're going to rationalize anyway, you might as well do it rationally!
schencka From: schencka Date: July 28th, 2007 02:50 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)


I like your argument -- it makes a lot of sense that for students, "easy" would be the same as "instructor took time to explain course content and assignments."

Also, with English classes, there is a surreptitious element, in that one's vocabulary and critical thinking improves quickly and drastically without one objectively noticing one's progress -- different, for example, from working out and losing body fat.

Think about how many of the 10,000 words or so for which one can remember the exact moment that word was "learned." I can only think of a few.

Thus the difficulty with "assessment."
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: July 28th, 2007 06:02 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: Evals=Dregs

That's an awesome point about vocabulary acquisition, Adam. Wow. I had a vocabulary component to my 380s for a few years that actually made students remember words. I think I'll go back to that.

Nice to hear from you, as always.
From: e4q Date: July 28th, 2007 10:11 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)


bask in the glory.

get the college tech to integrate it into the intranet. forward the link to all your colleagues, print it out and have it blown up to poster size and wallpaper paste it to your front door.

getting publicly rated by your students is nice. all i ever got was foreign sweets which were regrettable to eat in that homer simpson way, where you know it's going to be horrible but your eat it anyway and then it IS horrible.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: July 28th, 2007 06:03 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: bask!

From what country? Those Indian ones that come wrapped in metal always freaked me out. Sweets, I mean.

Here's to your dental -- and therefore mental -- health!
From: e4q Date: July 28th, 2007 06:46 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: sweets

not sure, they were 'brands' i had never heard of, which is not really a good sign, especially since it KEPT happening!

teeth - cheers, i think the tooth saga has come to a happy ending, even if i do now look like a horse.
13 comments or Leave a comment