Friday, May 7, 2010

How to Get Great Teacher Evaluations

From my experience the past two semesters, I've deduced the three simple steps to garnering favorable teacher evaluations:

(1) Be polarizing, to the point of frustrating the majority of your students while earning the deep admiration of a select few. In other words, become the academic equivalent of Sarah Palin.

(2) Don't enforce a strict attendance policy. Base the entire course grade on the final paper. Make it abundantly clear that students can just e-mail it to you if they want.

(3) Distribute teacher evaluations the last day of class.

And, voila! The only students filling out the evaluations are the ones who've liked you enough to deal with your eccentricities all semester. You've biased the sample in your favor.

Which would be great, if teacher evaluations actually mattered for anything.


pjsw said...


4. Be attractive

5. Give out free food on the day of the evaluation.

As far as I can tell, a few rare evaluations may be useful when they contain very specific & reasonable recommendations for changes in course format/teaching style. Other than that, worthless.

Greg Finley said...

Very true. Though being attractive isn't something you can (completely) control.