My Report Card:   Summary of "Student Perception of Teaching" Scores


I look to my SPOTs for two things: to see how well I’ve been doing and, more importantly, what I still need to work on. In my first 6 years at TCU, I’ve taught 42 sections (not including 9 summer courses, 2 MALA courses, 2 Directed Studies, or 3 Honors Theses). In those 42 sections alone, I estimate I’ve come in contact with around 1000 students. Upon review of my combined scores from my individual sections, I am pleased to report that my individual semester average has been higher than that of my AddRan colleagues every single semester except for one (my first). The average of all my semester SPOTs is 3.631, which is 3.4% higher than my AddRan counterparts over that same time period (3.494). I see success in these numbers in large part because I know how many excellent teachers I work beside in AddRan. I’m also satisfied to learn how consistently my students have rated me over the years, especially as I’ve pushed myself to teach new courses at the undergrad and graduate levels (ENGL 20833: Sophomore Seminar, “Writing New Media,” ENGL 50233: Studies in Creative Writing, “Prose Poetry / Flash Fiction,” and MALA 70753 “Poetry and Contemporary American Culture”) and to incorporate new kinds of assignments in different media.


As you can see in the chart above, even my lowest individual average (“The instructor provided an intellectually stimulating learning environment”: 3.51) is still 2.7% higher than the AddRan average (3.4). Additionally, in comparison to the college’s highest individual average (“The teacher treated me with courtesy and respect”: 3.67), I score slightly higher still (3.72), a difference of 1.2%. I am pleased my students feel consistently respected and encouraged to participate in my classes. As I say on the first day of every semester, “After today, if I’m the only one talking, this class is going to be miserable for all of us.” Every good teacher knows that knowledge-making is a communal activity, and I’m grateful to see that students recognize my efforts along these lines. That said, even knowing “intellectual stimulation” is a struggle I share with my AddRan colleagues, it’s still discouraging to see evidence that students don’t always leave my classroom with their brains are buzzing. I could flatter myself and say students have this impression because I make the material so accessible that it feels effortless to ingest. A more reasonable explanation might be that, as an Instructor, I teach mostly lower-division courses in service to the core (with as many as 110 students per semester over 4 sections). Nevertheless, I’ll take the feedback regarding intellectual stimulation as an implicit request from the students to ask them even harder questions, to push them more deeply into the material. Former students, I hear your request. Future students, watch out.