Interpreting Student Ratings of Instruction

Last week, those who administered IDEA Student Ratings of Instruction in our Fall courses received that data in our campus mailboxes. If you’re anything like me, there’s always a mixture of anticipation and anxiety when opening the packet: I think I did well; they seemed to like the class; I hope no one flamed me, though. And of course, no matter how many times we’re told to not take things personally, there’s always that one comment we can’t seem to take any other way. In my case, it’s a good bet that even if all the comments except one sing the praises of the course and my instruction, I’m going to obssess about the one that didn’t. Because teaching is an endeavor that’s so tied up in our identity, it’s hard to react any other way, it seems. Continue reading “Interpreting Student Ratings of Instruction”

Critically Reflective Practice at the End of the Semester

Re-entry after an extended break is always difficult, but re-entry after Thanksgiving has always been the hardest for me. Since we only have a week or two in the semester after the Thanksgiving recess, the end-of-term flurry of activity seems to hit me in the face that first Monday back (which is why the post you’re reading now is coming on a Tuesday). It’s more than just getting back on the horse; it’s like trying to jump on the horse while it’s galloping  at full speed and wearing a saddle coated in Crisco. Continue reading “Critically Reflective Practice at the End of the Semester”

Working with IDEA

Once again, it’s that time of the semester when we’re thinking about final student projects and evaluating their performance in our courses. And as we ponder those, we begin to think about evaluating ourselves and our courses as well. Part of being an effective teacher is being a reflective practitioner. We should take the opportunity (after the semester’s dust settles, of course) to reflect on our practice, on what worked and what didn’t, on what we did well and what we want to work on. Continue reading “Working with IDEA”