...with some surprises and interesting observations. I taught 2 sections of a Beginning Spanish class, and my Latin American Civilization I class. With the two sections of the Beginning Spanish class, I thought that the first class adored me while the second one was just meh... about it. Well, it was exactly the opposite. Regarding the Latin American Civilization I class, I am a little disappointed. I had some of the smartest students I ever had together in a class. Not all of them, but there was a group that was just plain brilliant. So I wanted the best evaluations possible, just as an ego booster (I don't need it, but I like when people say how smart I am). The evaluations, while good, were not better than what I've had in the past when I've taught the class. In part, it's probably due to the fact that their are more astute in their criticism. Furthermore, no matter how much I try, I can't make students passionate for the subject. So besides the recurring conflicting comments such as "You should lecture less and let the class discuss more" vs. "You should lecture more because it's hard to have a class discussion without knowing the material well", probably the most valuable comment I got (more than once) was that the syllabus was uneven. They liked the beginning and the end (questions of historiography and knowledge of the past), and they were less thrilled in the middle (primary documents from Colonial times). For once, I didn't get "more visual material", so I guess I am doing something right that way. Besides that, these are some random thoughts regarding the evaluations:
- Dear student, the class is called Latin American Civilization I (the I underlined like that in the comment)is due to the fact that it covers Latin America from Pre-Columbian times to the period of national independence. It is not because it's supposed to be a beginners, somehow easier class.
-GV, if you are reading this, the article was mentioned twice as one of the highlights of the course.
- "I don't want to learn grammar, I want to know how to construct a sentence". I can understand if you say that I should spend more time developing your ability to construct sentences. But if that is your goal, you do need grammar.
- "She should spend less time talking about Argentina and more time with the material in the text". Geez...thanks, dude. You are really nice.
- Several students in the 101 classes mentioned as a positive how I, unlike other instructors, spend time explaining them the basics of Spanish language, and don't assume they know everything nor do I look impatient when they make questions. Somehow, I am not surprised.
- Even the ones who were less than thrilled by the classes mentioned what a good and patient person I was. That won't give me tenure, but it is rewarding.