Dr. Mom, My Adventures as a Mommy-Scientist

Discussion of my journey from grad school to postdoc to tenure with two kids, a husband, (and a bit of breast cancer) in tow.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Teaching Evals

If you ever need a downer, just read your teaching evals....

Well, it is the end of the quarter and we are going through teaching evals right now. In addition to the standard evals, I asked them to do an evaluation for me personally and just finished reading the comments. It seems that no matter what I do it will never, ever be enough.

I don't want to go into details, but most of the problems emanate from the TAs and particularly my reliance on them. Last year I did a lot of the preparation and grading myself and as a result I did literally nothing else. I spent every moment at work on teaching plus 2-3 hours a night at home and about 1 weekend day. So this year, in the interest of balance, I pushed a lot of things on the TAs. I didn't observe their work as closely as I should have, and also assumed that they would do some things that they didn't, and didn't follow-up to make sure that everything I asked to be done was done, and there were some issues. Next year I will have to be much more diligent in following up with the TAs.

What most concerns me is that there is a perception that I don't care about teaching and that I care about my research more than teaching. This is hurtful because I am actually one of the most passionate profs on teaching in the department, and am known for my interest and enthusiasm (at least among the faculty). So clearly there was a major disconnect if that is how the students felt. That really troubles me. Also, NSF is constantly clamoring on integrating research and teaching, which I thought I did a particularly excellent job of this year and the result...my student complain that too many of my examples are from my own research!

Don't really know what else to say. Since things aren't going to well, maybe I'll call NSF and ask about that grant I have in....


At 10:52 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Dr Mom,
Hang in there. I am a new faculty member, about a year or so behind you, but I can already tell that there is no way to do this job right all the time. There is always something you can't give your full attention! I admire the balance you've worked for and can only hope that I will do as well once I start teaching.

At 8:15 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Teaching evals can stink, especially when you're getting your feet wet. Keep up the good work, one step at a time!

At 9:54 PM , Blogger Science_seeker said...

Hi there, I am faculty member as well, I joined my University in 01/2005. From my short experience, I can say that it is impossible to keep ALL students happy. You will always get great comments but also bad comments. If you know that you have done your work well, then, there is nothing to worry about. Just hang in there, and keep the good work.
By the way, I just came across your blog and I love it! it is so great to see such honest comments from another young female faculty member.
Congratulations! :-)

At 9:46 AM , Blogger tercumenette said...



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