One or two of you might be aware that I am working as a part-time temporary Professor of Science at a college in the area. Two weeks ago, I was subjected to a course evaluation/observation in the Anatomy and Physiology course I am teaching (I also teach the lab section for a Biochemistry class, but I guess they don’t evaluate/observe labs). Besides the fact that this was my first-ever course evaluation, it also caused me much angst these past two weeks because the evaluator surprised me by showing up in lecture without notifying me first, as is required. So of course, this meant that I had not meticulously prepared my lecture and I was not dressed in my best clothes (even my best clothes look shabby next to everyone else there). But worst of all, I was simultaneously trying to rebuild my self-esteem as a professor along with my relationship with my students after the majority of them flunked their first lecture exam in the previous lecture period.
Needless to say, my students blamed me for their poor exam performance and I was ready to quit because of the resulting stress and frustration and, well, guilt, too.
But yesterday, I finally was given the results of this evaluation and it seems that I did reasonably well, despite everything. The evaluation itself is rather boring: It basically is a condensed version of my lecture notes about bones. But this is the summary paragraph; “This was a lecture packed with information, which was nevertheless delivered at a calm and relaxed pace. Prof. [my corporeal name] occasionally asked a question of the classroom, and several students would answer. She gave examples where appropriate, and illustrated her explanations with drawings on the blackboard.” The evaluator/observer surprised me with this; “It was obvious that Prof. [my corporeal name] is very knowledgeable in the subject, and she was doing a fine job of passing this knowledge on to her students.”
Then, because she had to criticize me for something (or so I suppose), the evaluator also included this in her summary; “I believe that her lecture could be even more effective if she would make use of color transparencies to illustrate some of the more complex points, and to give the lecture an additional dimension.”
This evaluation is a prime example of how people are easily fooled. First, because I am a molecular biologist, I know very little about bones except they hurt like a #$%@*!! when they are broken and second, ever since my first day on this job, I have been fighting with several faculty members at the school and also with the book rep to get transparencies, without success.
So the only criticism was for something I have no control over. Sometimes, I think this is the story of my life.
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