It's that time of year again--the mad rush, rush, rush to get everything done. My grading is currently mocking me, baring its teeth and snarling back when I try to get close enough to make a dent in it.
(Yes, my grading is sentient. It's dangerous, too. I hope it doesn't bite me; lord only knows what I could get infected with from freshman prose.)
In addition to the grading crunch, this time of semester brings with it the bane of many an instructor's existence--evaluations. I have gotten some constructive feedback from evaluations, but I've also been the recipient of disgruntled bitching. I suspect nothing helpful--good or ill--will come from one campus's evaluations; for one thing, I shan't be there after this semester, and for another, it reads pretty much like a satisfaction survey with no room for even a comment or two. One class, I know, is not satisfied. They're a difficult group, and I've found myself frustrated and flummoxed by them more times than I can count. The other is, for the most part, a more capable bunch, and the classroom dynamic is a lot better--it lacks the undercurrent of hostility and frustration of the other. I will be curious to see those ratings, both classes', and I hope I can let the sting of some of the numbers roll off my back (and numbers they will be, somewhere in a range between 1 and 4--I hope I get them with a reminder of what questions were asked...).
Evaluations are also on the brain because I have another faculty observation tomorrow at the other campus, the one I will continue to teach for (assuming I receive a schedule of classes before spring semester!). By far, faculty evaluations now leave me much less tense. My department is a relatively drama-free one, and the faculty members who have evaluated and will be evaluating me are supportive. Any reservations they have about my teaching will be honestly noted, and should I have follow-up questions about how to improve on a given area, I can ask them and grow from the knowledge. They are qualified judges of my teaching capabilities, and I respect that. In addition to the faculty evaluation, I will receive student evaluations--the form allows for a combination of quantitative feedback and room for additional comments. There will, of course, be students to whom nothing I did was right, but they will always be there. From the rest, though, I may very well be able to glean a sense of what worked for people and what didn't.
If I'm honest with myself, I can already identify several flaws in the course this semester that will be duly changed. I'm ready, almost, for a new semester. This time last year I was never gonna teach ever, ever, ever again. I'm no longer going to make such emphatic, sweeping statements. A better route than teaching may someday reveal itself to me, but for now, this fits relatively well.
Now playing: The Jones Street Boys - One Last Love Song