I happened upon a review of me on ratemyprofessor.com, and all it said was "unprofessional." I am curious what this means. If I had to guess, I would say it is because I tend to think of and treat my students as junior colleagues, so we usually have a pretty shallow power structure in the class. OR, maybe it's because I sometimes sit on one of the desks to talk with the students, rather than standing at the blackboard to talk TO them. OR, maybe it's because I joke with students that joke with me. OR, maybe it's because I still sometimes dress like a grad student. OR, maybe it's something sinister and terrible that I am not even aware of.
Or the student simply didn't get the grade they wanted.
Also, there's a student in one of my classes this semester who has a reputation for being pretty disruptive, and I'm nervous about this because I am not particularly hard core. I usually get dinged on my course evals for "not keeping everybody under control". Obviously it now occurs to me that it's because I'm totally unprofessional.
But, then, today in class the students asked great questions and we had some good discussion, and somebody stayed after class to tell me about something related he'd recently seen on TV, and I came away feeling upbeat.
It's kind of a shame that so much of teaching seems to come down to personality. I just don't have a discliplinarian's personality. I'm not scary, and I'm overly casual with my students. Is that just the way it is, or should I try to change to satisfy what may be just a vocal angry minority?
2 weeks ago