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student evaluation

russell russell arussel at bgnet.bgsu.edu
Thu Jul 11 14:22:12 EST 1996

In a previous article, cboake at utk.edu () says:

>also give them a sheet for answers to some questions).  In answer to the
>question, "What aspects of this class detracted from your learning?" the
>student wrote "colorless dress of instructor."  This leads to interesting
>speculation (beyond the obvious of whether male faculty ever receive
>similar comments): Should I have dressed like the majority of students, in
>old t-shirts and jeans?  Should I emulate my elegant colleagues in the art
>dept?  Should I emulate colleagues in my own dept, who wear jeans and
>t-shirts?  Would the student have stayed awake if I had worn gaudy
>clothes?  Were my clothes in fact colorless or did this student only come
>to class just before my laundry days?  Should I make sure to wear bright
>clothes on days that I give tests?

Along these same lines, I often get comments from students about how they 
cannot look at me as an instructor because I wear jeans and t-shirts. Do 
they expect me to  wear dresses every day because I am a female 
instructor? Do they expect me to wear nice clothes to teach a LAB where 
we often use dyes and other stain-causing things (assuming, of course, 
that I actually owned a dress)? Apparently, they also cannot learn from 
my instruction because I wear a very small hoop in my nose. I guess this 
hoop automatically invalidates everything I say. (damn hippie! they never 
tell the truth!) I suppose it could be worse though; a fellow TA of mine 
who is generously endowed in the chest gets at least one harrassing 
comment about her body per semester in her evaluations!

Do males get these same inane comments about body parts/clothing/jewelry 
on TEACHING evaluations? I don't mean to imply that all students are 
sexist, but maybe they are conditioned to picture female instructors as 
primarily teachers and male intructors as primarily researchers at the 
college level? In that mindset, male intructors/professors would be 
forgiven for "not taking teaching seriously", as evidenced to the 
students as not dressing up for class, because teaching is not the male 
instructor's first priority. The female intructor/professor would 
not be given that same leniency because, in the mind of the student, her 
first priority is teaching; if she does not dress up for class, then she 
must be a bad teacher. Any comments?

Also, I often hear students complain about how the evaluations are never 
taken seriously by the instructors, but out of 100 evaluations I received 
last semester, maybe 3 were of any use to me in improving my teaching skills! 
I guess there's not much to be done about this specifically, but it really 
pisses me off!

Amy "if only I could give these people LEARNING evaluations!" Russell

Dept. of Biological Sciences
Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green, OH  43403
arussel at bgnet.bgsu.edu

our love is like my parents' love        |  Amy L. Russell
except                                   |  Bowling Green State University
i won't wait until you die to leave you. |  arussel at bgnet.bgsu.edu

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