Well, as long as you have both students complaining about the class being too hard, and students complaining that it is too easy, then you are in the clear.
when good teecher i has good learning from the class. mike from textbook good reading from homework.
What's really fun is when you get contradictory messages on the same evaluation...
I had one evaluation where a sizeable chunk of the class stated that I was the best TA they'd ever had, and two students wrote things along the lines of "This was the worst teacher I've ever had in my life. I pray for the souls of the students who will have him in the future, because their lives will be ruined." Moral: If you like your TA, say so on the evaluations!
And so very true, sadly. Love it!
I once had a two young ladies get together and decide to write the same thing stating, "She has a bad personality"...this was response to not allowing them to make up in class quizzes. The rest of the class gladly didn't feel that way. :)
Once I specifically asked the students for comments on the set of lecture notes I had prepared. The most memorable comment was: "The lecture notes were bad, because to benefit from them you had to read them!"
Kind of respectful to students. :P Mike is that you?
Yup that's me... it's kind AND respectful though!
Without knowing what else the student wrote, I would consider "not an asshole" a good thing.
Good teachers stand out but so do the bad ones. And bad professors (or bad TAs or even just bad markers), esp. earlier in an academic program, can have a detrimental effect.
Perhaps the student who wrote "not an asshole" had at least one asshole or idiot that year, and that student now appreciates everybody else so much more.
A good friend of mine (PM) used to teach for his company, and relates this story:
Once during class, he was writing on the whiteboard and his nose began to itch. He didn't want to scratch with his hands since they were covered with whiteboard dust and he was afraid he would leave a smudge. (This was in the early days whiteboard markers; they have come a long way since then.) So he scratched his nose against his upper arm, and went on with the presentation. At the end of the class, students had the opportunity to review him, and one of these reviews said in essence "PM is an excellent teacher, but he should not wipe his nose on his sleeve."
My friend found this fairly amusing, and he related the story to the next class he taught. One and he did not wipe his nose on his sleeve."
Almost being done with the first semester, I remember the evaluations I've given. Very varying evaluations, where I've written the best first and the worst last.
Electronics prof: "You're quite simply one of the best teachers I've ever had"
Math prof: "Great teacher, you explain stuff well"
Boolean algebra prof (his first time teaching): "You're going too fast sometimes, but you've been improving since the course started - keep up the good work"
Programming prof: "You're a crappy teacher. No order on the blackboards, no real clue what we're doing and you're writing programs that doesn't work on the board. The TA's aren't there to clean up your mess! Is it that hard to prepare? Too bad for you, that these evaulations are anonymous, because I know you'll end up giving me an A+ ;) " (and I got that A+).
Let's say that I hope they (well, the three good ones, could use it)
Which evaluation would you prefer seeing?
Consider the comments to act as one dimensional vectors with regard to each subject they discuss.
For example: if one individual expresses that the book is useless, but another individual expresses that the book is useful, and the subjectively determined *intensity* of the remarks is about equal, then you've got something like -x + x = 0.