The Blackboard Jungle

days spent beating back the seeds of doubt

Friday, December 03, 2004

What annoys me about teaching adults, apart from the fact they're neither as cute, nor creative, nor as naughty as children, is that they know how to answer back.

Britain's fifty years deep in the throes of a cultural addiction to 'evaluation' forms. Every seminar, every meeting, every interaction seems to end with you or someone else being evaluated on a scrap of useless paper. Particularly useless, as the person who receives your evaluation is often the person evaluated. Crap presentation? Well, what would you do?

When I give seminars to local teachers, not only do I have to take the evaluations in, I have to count and average the totals, summarise the central complaints or successes, then file a report on the loathsome things.
Given a choice, I'd refuse to even look at them, so it's a dispiriting experience. (though I've never yet had a bad evaluation, touch wood.)

Imagine all those hours of preparation, to be handed a sheet that summarily brands you 'satisfactory'?
Perhaps this is a flavour of how it feels to be unfairly judged, or judged on 'effort', that nebulous quality we rattle off in students reports all the time.

Trepidation, and some sweets helped me sit down, yesterday, to count my score.
0% 'poor'.
0% 'disappointing'.
0% 'satisfactory'
20% 'extremely useful'.
80% 'excellent'.

Only criticism: 'should have lasted longer than the normal two hours'.

Wow. I rule.