Fill them out: Teacher and Course Evaluations

In the next couple of weeks I’ll be handing out evaluation forms to my 400+ students. These forms are used to evaluate the course itself as well as the instructor (me). In addition to raw numerical data there is also the opportunity to provide a certain amount of feedback about the course, instructor, or something else in a handwritten portion. Sadly, a large portion of my class will choose not to fill out those forms. Today I’m going to try to convince you that failing to take the small amount of time it would take to fill out those forms is a huge mistake.

Hands up if you’ve had a bad teacher: Wow! That’s lots of you. Okay… hands up if you’ve taken a bad class: Wow! Even more of you! Did you know that the system of evaluations actually makes a difference? Did you know that many universities use that data for retaining or removing teachers? Did you know that comments are actually used to improve courses? Did you know that if enough students point out that reading that certain article and doing that one presentation had nothing to do with the class and more closely resembled busy work that there’s a good change it will disappear next semester? It’s true.

As a student think of the good you can do. If other students had honestly filled out their evaluations in previous semesters you might not be doing that busywork presentation or not be learning nothing from that teacher. So take it from me, a student and a teacher, fill them out honestly. Doing this is the most important thing you can do. You help great teachers keep teaching. You help great classes get better. You help filter out the worst of college and keep the best. Fill it out for you. Fill it out for future students. Fill it out for me.

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