I Used To Be Hard

In the world of independent schools, most places have an evaluation process in place in which students mark evaluation forms of their instructors. For the most part, I have enjoyed the feedback from students on my teaching and the general nature of my courses. Before students evaluate me, I always ask them to write a comment or two offering constructive criticism. What can I improve on in my teaching. I have found the best mode of evaluation to come in a more informal manner: having lunch or dinner with students during or after the academic year so that I might ask them questions about my course(s). I am known to walk in the classroom and ask: “how are we feeling about the material and the direction of the course?” Students are good at being open; some will even offer instructional advice on something that might help them understand the material; I have found that students themselves are the best teachers. They can explain topics in a way that all students “fully” understand. Thus this is the reason I utilize the seminar method of instruction.

Not all students are fair in their evaluations, though. When I was in college, I recall some students saying that they were going to give so and so a bad evaluation because he/she was too hard or “unfair.” This does not help anyone. I do not know the extent to which HCHS students do this; I hope they do not. I have not had to deal with this issue so far. I wish we had a system of student evaluation at my former school (CAC), though my first year evaluations would have been brutal. I will admit that my courses were far more difficult at CAC than they are now. Much of this has to do with a change in my teaching philosophy.

I am not a fan of Rate My Teacher/Professor. I am not sure what purpose it serves. Moreover, it is clearly not a valid system of evaluation seeing that I have read ratings of teachers I deem to be outstanding. I have received pretty good marks on this site. If you have never been to it, here is how it works: a person gives a rating on a scale of 1 to 5. A person can also leave a comment that is approved or disapproved via moderator.

Below showcases my easiness, helpfulness, and clarity. A 1 means hard and a 5 is easy.

8/26/08

  • 1 E
  • 4 H
  • 5 C
  •   Smart man, knows what he is talking about. IF you are in his class he expects you to work. Do the work and you will succeed. But you have to put in the effort. He is always willing to help.
  • 10/15/06

  • 1 E
  • 5 H
  • 4 C
  •   he reads plato while listening to rap. he is cool, smart, but can be odd at times. good world history class. too many big words
  • 9/28/05

  • 2 E
  • 5 H
  • 5 C
  •   Good: hard worker, good class discussions Bad:lots of reading, hard tests
  • 8/06/05

    8/05/05

  • 3 E
  • 5 H
  • 5 C
  •   i think he is a nice person very nice!
  •  

  • 1 E
  • 4 H
  • 5 C
  •   Too much reading.
  • 8/01/05

  • 1 E
  • 1 H
  • 1 C
  •   lose the ego!
  • 4/23/05

  • 3 E
  • 5 H
  • 5 C
  •   If you enjoy reading and discussing what you have read, AP History with Carson is great. Be prepared to participate. Great teacher, very nice person. Very biased – watch out.
  • Here are some thoughts from my CAC days. I have not taught here since May of 2004.

    10/14/05

  • 2 E
  • 2 H
  • 1 C
  •   If you thnk that Carson is as intelligent as he likes to act than you must be quite gullable. A good teacher should be challenging, yet understandable- not impossible.
  • 6/27/07

  • 1 E
  • 5 H
  • 5 C
  •   I heard he left. That is sad. Too bad. I miss him and his class.
  • 4/03/06

  • 2 E
  • 5 H
  • 5 C
  •   As I graduate from CAC, I will remember how Carson challenged and helped me to be the best. Yes, he was very tough, but so approachable. He even had his class over for dinner.
  • 10/16/05

  • 1 E
  • 5 H
  • 5 C
  •   He was tough, but I got an “A” in his AP class.
  • 9/19/05

  • 1 E
  • 2 H
  • 1 C
  •   He was incredibly hard and forced his opinions on you. I’m glad he is no longer part of the CAC family.
  • 4/22/05

  • 1 E
  • 5 H
  • 5 C
  •   A very differnt thinker. Loved his AP World class.
  • 7/21/04

  • 1 E
  • 5 H
  • 4 C
  •   Best teacher at CAC. Wow!
  • 3/17/04

  • 1 E
  • 3 H
  • 3 C
  •   haven’ had him yet… SCARED OUT OF MY MIND!!! Did my friends that have him now really say that he told them to sell their souls to him???
  • 12/11/03

  • 1 E
  • 5 H
  • 4 C
  •   Does a great job explaining because he knows so much.
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    12 thoughts on “I Used To Be Hard

    1. I find it very amusing that the students that gave you poor ratings are the students who apparently do not have a grasp of grammar or correct spelling.

    2. I HATE these sorts of things; I trust neither the glowing accolades nor the scathing indictments. I always find it interesting that no student ever bothers to tell us these things to our faces. “Lose the ego,” indeed. Pfft.

    3. Hey carson, I am with Chili. I would love to see a student tell you to lose the ego. I do not believe in evaluations without a name. This stuff is driven by a false sense of making schools better by talking about teachers on the Internet. Silly. Though, with the exception of a few, this is good stuff about you. But hey, take me to dinner and I will say nice things too. Take care bro.

    4. This isn’t exactly earth-shaking news, but I believe that there are no hard courses, just hard teachers.

      Hard teachers are teachers who fail to engage students. They don’t have a clue about good classroom management practices, or “best” instructional, assessment, and grading practices.

      If a teacher is holding up their end of the deal and gets drilled on the public rating sheets, it should not bother them. You can’t please everyone all the time, and people are 3,000 times more likely to complain than to compliment, according to a recent marketing book I read! 🙂

      In a perfect world, I’d like everyone to like me, but they don’t. Too bad for them. They’re the ones who are missing out.

    5. I don’t know about that Hugh. Differential Equations was a hard course and so were both halves of Physical Chemistry and a lot of my grad classes. In high school, I’m willing to go out on a limb and say that for most students, the courses are not too hard for them to master and that you’re right about the instructors.

    6. Tools such as Rate My Teachers lack objectivity. Most young people haven’t the maturity to distinguish between a teacher they perceive is bad because he or she isn’t warm and fuzzy, albeit a good teacher, versus a teacher who is warm and fuzzy, but, ineffectual. Many students rate based on the feelings they are emoting about a teacher at the time, and not on objective factors.

    7. MRW is exactly right. Most kids rate based on emotions. Although, I take my year end survey seriously. I take it lightly as well. I look at WHO wrote the comment and what was suggested for areas of improvement.

      I love the one that says: Lose the ego. I hope you get a kick out of them. I do quite a bit of laughing when I read mine. What I find to be true: A few years later, they come back saying “I miss your class.” or “you really taught us this and it related . .. “

      • If you thnk that Carson is as intelligent as he likes to act than you must be quite gullable. A good teacher should be challenging, yet understandable- not impossible.

        Impossible? I’m glad you weren’t my teacher;-) So how many of the good ones did YOU fill out? Just kidding:)

        Love from Cali ❤

    8. I’m no fan of these “rate my teacher” things, because of the inherently inflammatory notion of “rating” a person whose interactions with you may not be typical of their usual habits.

      If you’re interested in finding out more about my views, my blog (blog.firsttutors.co.uk) is a friendly place where you can find out about developments in education.

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