I am reading through my teaching evaluations from last year.
I have to say, I am truly touched and appreciative of the students I have had.
Needless to say, there are some negatives that I need to work on, but I wanted to share some of the added comments that really touched me and some of my thoughts.
"This class pushed what I thought were my limits of the amount of material I could learn. I was initially intimidated, but I learned that I could handle a lot more than I realized. The instructor did not take it easy on us but lovingly pushed us to learn more than we thought we could, and I have never been more grateful." – With the pedagogical foundation provided by Dr. Russell and his enthusiasm, I think this was easy to do. But, I genuinely want my students to do well, not just in my class, but as citizens of the world.
"-he really seemed to care about helping us in our careers after Miami. I appreciate that he focused on some of the more minor, yet important, skills, such as recording data/writing ebird checklists. I also appreciated that he pushed us not to jump to conclusions in our bird identifications. While it was sometimes frustrating when he had us check our identification of, say a robin, I think in the long-run this is a good skill and it made me think more critically about what the key field characteristics of a robin actually are." – As scientists, it can be easy to overlook the little things when we feel we know the material. I had to keep reminding myself when teaching my students and the best way to do this is to ask clarifying questions.
"TA provided safe/fun/engaging space for learning about birds and life. Leno was always there for us on course material, as a mentor, and as a good person. One of the best." – This one means alot to me, because this past year has been a dark one for some students and knowing that my classroom is "safe" is of the utmost importance.
"This has been my favorite class of my college career." – 🙂 no, seriously 🙂
"Leno was always available for not only class help, but also general career advice and insight from his long career in the sciences. Never had a TA that I thought so highly of." – This I think was the hardest earned comment. As a Graduate student, husband and father, my time is extremely limited, but I feel all teachers, professors and instructors should go into teaching with a strong commitment to be there for their students.
"Leno had a great attitude towards our course work and us students. He was also open to our questions and enjoyed cracking jokes to make the class period fly by." – so, only one student mentioned my jokes… Do I have to make more next time??
"very approachable and enthusiastic about biology. made the class fun and interesting. his course was one of the reasons l am switching my major to biology" – MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!
I hope you all enjoyed these and I want to remind you to fix the negative and hold on to the positive as you teach with kindness and science hard.
Every student needs someone who says, simply, "You mean something. You count." -Tony Kushner, playwright (b. 16 Jul 1956)