Friday, May 07, 2004

saved by the bell

I taught my last methods class of the semester today. Things ended on a relatively rousing note, I think, especially compared to previous two or three weeks.

Given that I thought my lecturing finale went well, I wish I had done my evaluations at the end of today's class rather than at the beginning. The worst evaluation I received from last year was that "this class was a complete failure, both intellectually and pedagogically" (this was all the student wrote). The vast majority of the evaluations I received last year were positive and/or constructive in the ways they were negative, but of course none of them I am able to repeat verbatim a year later.

The class overall went unequivocally better this time than either of its first two incarnations--and I would have even said "much" better had it not been for the end-of-semester slump. I Know This Much Is True, regardless of however student evaluations turn out. To be honest, I think one of the reasons I get especially apprehensive about evaluations for this class is not just that graduate students are much more perceptive and frank than undergraduates, but also over the course of the semester I come to really genuinely like most of the students*, and so you especially want students you've become quite fond of to not have had such a bad time enduring your class. Oh, and I might also get apprehensive because I think the course is basically impossible to teach, at least in a way that would please everyone, at least given the various and conflicting mandates I've been given regarding what the class is supposed to accomplish, or even if the class is going to continue to exist at all.

In any event, the boundless opportunity of summer awaits, and I feel like somebody has injected liquid zeal into my veins. Now if only I could recommit myself to this diet thing...

* Particularly so this semester, as I have reconfigured things so that I've read like 21 different short pieces of writing by the students, which means that I feel like I've gotten a much better sense of them than in previous semesters where there has been less written work.

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