Student evaluations came out. Naturally the results were nerve-wracking. While I was slightly below the department average I don't think it's that significant. The quantum mechanics class had only four students and so there's really no statistical measures that can be drawn from its results. The huge class, meanwhile, compared against classes on the same level -- that is, the other classes that hundreds of students will take out of the desperate need to have something on their transcript -- I came out a touch above average on every question measured, both for lab work and lectures.
And the comments were better this time around. I got a lot of praise for being accessible and prompt in responding to students' questions, and on making time whenever any student stopped by my office. Since I'd mentioned that in my last evaluation as one of the things I wanted to improve I'm glad I have the forensic evidence of it. The student who asked if I would be in Saturday, and whom I told I'd come in if he wanted to see me, mentioned that. My lecture notes, which always drive me crazy, were also very appreciated as being almost as good as the book; that's another relief. I got some gripes from people who wanted the lectures to go quicker, and some from people who felt I didn't start at a basic enough level. Several students asked me to be more careful checking the notes for errors before putting them on the web -- I usually have a just-in-time system -- although one phrased the request poorly, suggesting, ``No more errata.'' One student suggested every command should be introduced with an explicit example in the notes, and she or he was right.
Nobody made any cracks out what I wear this term, which shows the power that wearing the shirts with a couple buttons, and buttoning them to the top, will bring. The programming assignments, with things like the rocket equation or Monte Carlo simulation of traffic flows, were liked as being engaging problems, even if they really wanted some more hints on how to go about writing the programs. In the quantum mechanics course three of my students said I'd strongly increased their desire to study the field. Best of all, three students nominated me for ``Best Teacher''. I won't win -- I know the guy who will; he's able to use props like stuffed lions and celestial globes in class -- but I will be clinging to that when renewal talks start up again all too soon.
Trivia: In 1884 the Abbé Croze, chaplain to the prison at La Roquette, offered a prize of 5000 francs for the best proposal to reform the calendar. Source: Mapping Time: The Calendar And Its History, E G Richards.
Currently Reading: Michael Faraday: A Biography, L Pearce Williams.