I meticulously prepare my material to provide the best classroom experience the students deserve and expect, and the comments above reflect this effort. I also greatly value the in-class “a-ha” moments, written notes or cards, or follow-up emails from students who I’ve become friends with after a course is done— all of this reaffirms that I have indeed made a difference in their educational and professional goals--this is why I teach.
However, it's now also common to get superfluous remarks—sometimes your personality or the way you conduct a class does not mesh with every students expectations— but it’s the constructive comments that I value, and what I address by refining my pedagogy with every class I teach. This is evidenced by the work my students create, as well as the consistent teaching opportunities I have been given over the last ten years.
(For those who are unfamiliar with higher-education reviews, students provide feedback on every course (yes every course!) they take through university questionnaires (appx. 15-20 questions with write-in comments). Most universities place special emphasis on these reviews (along with a multitude of other criteria) for promotion reviews; and for untenured (contingent or adjunct) instructors (like myself), this is especially important as these reviews can possibly lead to getting rehired, or not. While I have additional opinions on the student review process at-large, I will reserve that for a possible future blog entry.)
(Note: For those from hiring committees reviewing this entry (from positions I may have applied for), full student review questionnaires, with these comments, will be provided upon request.)