I like student evaluations. Many dread them because of the anxiety of what students might say on a form, but I look forward to them. I encourage my students to complete them since they let me know how I’m doing. I let them know that their thoughts matter. I read every positive and negative comment on each evaluation form. I let them know that pay close attention to what they say because I am always striving to be better than I was the day before. To me, evaluations are all about helping me to improve.
I understand that some don’t share my view and that is ok, but they are needed, and I think that they are effective. What have I learned from my student evaluations over the past five years? The importance of having clear instructions and criteria for my assignments, providing deeper explanations for course content, slowing down in my lectures, having more of a variety of activities in my lessons, and not going off on a tangent during lectures (I have my soap box moments) =>). I’ve improved in most areas, I still go off on tangents. =>) I’m still a work in progress in this area. =>)
Evaluations provide feedback that helps us to improve, but they also inform us of the impact we have on our students. Feedback can communicate how much we matter to our students. For the past five years, I have been floored by the feedback I have received from my students. Some express an interest in the field of communication, some mention how they have been able to use what we learn in their lives, others enjoy the discussions and the activities we have in class, some have even said that they feel like I care about teaching and them.
As instructors, we never really know the impact we will have on our student’s lives. Evaluation season helps us improve and reminds us WE MATTER. I encourage you to take a moment to review past evaluations from students, chairs, deans, managers, supervisors etc. Ask yourself: How have I grown? How has my growth impacted others? How does my evaluation communicate my value and my worth to the people that I serve? I hope the evaluation review will provide you some information that will help you to see your room for growth and the impact you have on others.