So I give my students many opportunities to tell me how they feel about the course. I remember that when I was in college, I really wanted my professors to ask me this question (I had so much to tell them!). But they never seemed to care… I want to be a different kind of educator. This is why I always acknowledge my students’ reflections, and use many of their ideas to adjust my course. I started to use more PowerPoint for visual learners, I write on the board more to explain what I am saying, I help my students with note-taking, I add new activities, etc. All in all, feedback is a very useful educational tool.
But part of me is always dreading it… I know that I am not perfect, and never will be, but damn it, I really want perfection! Very stupid… When students give me suggestions (some do it more thoughtfully than others) I am reminded that I never can please everybody. Neither should I try. Still, this upsets me. I am trying to find a middle ground, making sure that both students who want discussions and those who want lectures, those who prefer more rigor and those who need to be hand-held are satisfied. In the end, of course, nobody is completely satisfied.
I will keep asking students for feedback, and I will work on refining ways to get helpful reflections at different times in the course. I guess I will never be entirely over my perfectionism, though. But maybe it is not that bad, after all, because it means that I will always be thinking about possibilities for improvement.