Merit Review

Well, I am up this year for a merit review at work.
We all sit around—we post-six year or continuing lecturers—and evaluate each other.
Each person being evaluated has to write up his/her own case (at least here at UCSB; this does not seem true of all the UC campuses). We have to write a section on teaching (that’s the most important area); and a section on Program (and Campus) Service; and a section on “Professional Development.” All of these write-ups are called “self-evaluations.”
To write up the one on Teaching, one must go through all of the student evaluations for the length of the period of one’s review. In my case, three years, back to Winter Quarter 2006 (the review will take place Winter Quarter, 2009. That’s next year by my calculations.)
So I spent the better part of yesterday and some part of today reading the number scores students give me and my class. They have two questions to answer on a fill in the blank scantron.
1. Rate the instructor
2. Rate the course
On a scale running from:
Excellent….Very Good….Good….Fair….Poor.
I have to go through each and every class and tally together the numbers for the Excellent, Very Good Categories and put them in a chart. And then I have to add them all together and find an average “score” for any given class. Boy do I hate doing this. And maybe because I do I kept making mistakes with the math part and writing in the wrong numbers in the wrong column…
And then I had to read three years work of what are called “student narratives.” These are sheets of paper on which students write something about you, the teacher, and the course. I had about 400 of these to run through.
Generally, when the comments are not just bland, thin, and relatively indifferent, students comment on me and my classes in overwhelmingly positive terms. But for some terrible reason all I remember is that handful of squeaky wheels (perhaps four or five out of 400) who says things, your class was a waste of time, your class was like being back in high school, your class didn’t teach me a thing and I want my money back.
Stuff like that. Just plain cruel. Mostly comments like these come from students who resent having to take the class at all. It’s not my fault the class is required. And then I turn out not to be their cup of tea—and out comes the venom.
What a day.

One Reply to “Merit Review”

  1. take a deep breath and relax
    in the end no one will no you were here, I mean to say, in 50 years after you are gone, no one will know you were here, just live…for what it is worth

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