I finally got my class evaluations back from last semester...
Mostly, they are exactly what I expected --- mostly very positive, some people complaining that they didn't like philosophy or wanted more group activities and play time -- which is fine if you are in a made-up discipline, but philosophy IS hard, I have lots to do and constructing group projects that will bore 50% of the class so some of you "hands-on" learners can be amused isn't on my long to-do list.
The ones that pissed me off came from one particular class -- this class pissed me off from the start, as many of them had a habit of coming for half the class and then leaving. They'd make sure they took the quiz and signed-in, then just get up and leave in the middle of the lecture. Sometimes they'd be polite enough to tell me they "had an appointment" or something, other times they'd just get up and leave.
About mid-term I'd had enough. I told them that if their "appointment" was important enough to miss class for, it was important enough to make sure you are early to it -- i.e. don't be rude and interrupt class because you can't manage to schedule appointments around a class you registered for last spring. Perhaps I was a bit harsh on them -- but, they deserved it. This behavior was a sign of disrespect and significant rudeness to their classmates. When they leave, they can't do so quietly and they end up interrupting the lecture. When this happens several times in a 75 minute class meeting, the flow of the lecture was lost for everyone and my concentration was blown.
I did make exeptions for people who wanted to come in, take the quiz and leave while others were still taking the quiz -- because that did not interrupt the lecture. I remember one little bitch telling me that I was being unfair to her for letting someone else leave right after the quiz. Since she was the WORST offender (must have had some VERY important appointments at noon, so she had to leave my class at 11:45 several times) I might have been rude to her. Fact of the matter is that she is a spoiled brat who also lied to me about "having to go on vacation to Florida with her family Thanksgiving week" -- when, her SISTER was in class the week she was required to be absent. Hmmmm -- sister get kicked out of the family or something? I doubt it.. .my guess is that her high school friends were going down and she wanted to go with them for some sun and booze... oh well.
I used to read every one carefully, thinking about what may or may not be the motivations and causes for each comment. I realized last semester that instead I should look for trends, patterns and recurring comments before they actually mean anything. Using that method, I found that many students found me an amazing teacher who is helpful to her students and who can explain the material well.
A few people in one class thought I was rude to some students -- and they may have been right... Since I've already addressed the leave early issue in my classes by adding it to the syllabus and discussing it early, it isn't a problem this semester. They see how it is seen by me -- and this semester they seem to respect me enough to either schedule appontments outside of class time or not come to class when they have an appointment. I'm a bit worried I did TOO good a job, as someone said the other day that they didn't come TO class late -- I told her that wasn't the problem, but I'm not going to discuss it with the group as it would sound like permission to be late.