Today I obtained the formal course evaluations on my performance as a Teaching Assistant. These evaluations were filled out by students at the conclusion of EOSC 516 in the Fall 2009 semester. Despite having TAed courses each semester since I began my M.Sc., this was the first time I had any face-to-face interaction with students!
For these evaluations, my mini-lesson small group was asked to fill out the evaluations; the small group I facilitated consisted of only three students. The number of evaluations is very small, but I understand the choice to only have the small group evaluate me, given that I interacted with these three students basically twice as often as I did with the rest of the class.
The evaluation consisted of five statements that were to be assigned a rating:
The Teaching Assistant was:
- Well prepared
- Considerate of students
- Easily understood
- An effective instructor
The students rated my attributes on a scale of 1 to 5, 1 representing Strongly Disagree and 5 representing Strongly Agree. I received a straight of fives; all three students indicated that they Strongly Agree with each of the statements. In addition, a comment was added by one student, “GREAT teaching assistant”.
Receiving this feedback is great in that it has reinforced the skills I have tried to use as a teacher and facilitator. I strive to be inclusive, open, and appreciative of all contributions. I try to ensure, frequently, that my students and I are on the same page with content and new ideas, and I aim to create a supportive community in one another to discuss these ideas.
There were moments during EOSC 516 where I felt like I could have explained a concept better, could have said ideas much more eloquently, and worried that I may have made a student feel excluded. It’s nice to know that I can look past these instances and see that overall, I am on the path I wish to be in developing my teaching and facilitating skills.
I do wish that the evaluations included a space for suggestions so that I could see more of what areas need more work overall. But I will happily bask in good feedback when I can get it!