April 17, 2004

Melior est finis orationis quam principium

As I mentioned before, last week was the end of term. In the last class of both of my courses, my students showed their appreciation with a round of applause — very sweet of them! Is this a common practice? I don’t seem to remember this custom from my undergraduate years, but my memory could be failing me. It was very encouraging in any case. In addition to the applause, a number of students paused after class to shake my hand or thank me in person, so I guess I’m doing something right.

I also recently found out that I now have the dubious honour of having made it into the RateMyProfessors.ca database. While I don’t put much stock in this website, it was nice to see that my rating was generally pretty positive. However, I do believe that student feedback is very important, especially for less experienced instructors, and I look forward to seeing the official U of T class evaluations from my students.

In addition to being useful for improving my grasp of pedegogy, such evaluations are also useful in putting together a teaching dossier. At the moment, I only have evaluations from my teaching assistantships, but by the time I’m applying to jobs next fall, I’ll have this year’s evaluations.

As a teacher, I think I have improved enormously over the course of this year — a trend common to most instructors in their first or second year, I imagine — to the point where I would consider my teaching abilities one of my strongest assets. And it’s not just the in-class skills but all levels of organization and planning. Like anything else, teaching takes practice and experience.

Posted by Mark at April 17, 2004 04:31 PM