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Write Your Own Evaluations

Nearly everyone who has taught a college course is familiar with the significance of student teaching evaluations. They are an important component of job applications, promotion and tenure portfolios, and the self-efficacy of many professors. While these evaluations receive a great deal of attention and are certainly a key measure of teaching effectiveness, a second (and often overlooked) form of evaluation is crucial for success in the classroom: self-evaluations. By taking time to reflect and evaluate how our own goals are being achieved throughout the semester, we can identify strengths or areas for improvement early on, find ways to be creative in the classroom, and ultimately provide the best possible learning experience for our students. There are other tangible benefits for the teacher too. Self-evaluations may help us detect ways we can save time and energy in our teaching, form the basis of a teaching philosophy, and even raise the scores of student evaluations at the end of the semester. Here are a few tips for how to evaluate your own teaching:

  1. Return to the learning goals you established at the beginning of the semester. What progress have your students made in achieving these goals? How have they demonstrated this progress during class or through assigned work? In your upcoming classes, determine at least one thing you can do to help your students meet the goals you have for them. (For more on how to use learning goals, see this past blog post.)
  2. Reflect on your teaching while it is fresh in your mind. After each class, ask yourself: what is one component of the class that worked really well? What is one aspect that did not work as well as you had hoped? Be sure to write down these reflections for the next time you teach the class.
  3. Evaluate your teaching methods by reviewing current research on teaching pedagogy. Consider trying a new method in an upcoming class and comparing it to your previous method of teaching that particular subject. Even well-designed courses can benefit from updating and finessing.
  4. Design and administer mid-semester student evaluations. Fill the evaluation out for yourself and write brief comments on why you answered the way you did.
  5. Contact the Kaneb Center to arrange an individual consultation or a collaborative teaching reflection. These are excellent opportunities to enhance your teaching by assessing your strengths and areas for improvement.

Self-evaluations, if utilized throughout the semester, allow us to make adjustments to better serve our students and to make our teaching more effective and enjoyable. For additional resources on self-evaluations of teaching, check out:

Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher by Stephen Brookfield
Am I Teaching Well? Self-Evaluation Strategies for Effective Teachers by Vesna Nikolic and Hanna Cabaj
“Evaluating Your Own Teaching” by L. Dee Fink

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