By staff writer E.E. Southerby
April 4, 2004
“This Column Has Been Evaluated as Fun and Funny”
Now Playing: “Always On My Mind” by Willie Nelson
It's that time of year, when the semester is not quite done and the looming fear and impending doom of exams has not yet fully set in. And what better way to celebrate this special time than by badmouthing all your professors by way of Teacher Evaluations. Yes, teacher evaluations are a college tradition that are, let's face it, long overdue for a good lampooning. Here's what happened:
-At the end of every semester, college students are required to fill out teacher evaluation forms that rate your professor based on her performance in the class. But they never ask the right questions. It's always “Did the professor demonstrate a clear understanding of the material?” Of COURSE she did. She's a PROFESSOR. She has a Ph.D. in this stuff. There are only three questions hey need to ask on a useful evaluation form: #1. Did you get an easy A? #2. How hot is the prof? #3. Would you rather take this class again or have your testicles put through a wheat thresher? (The answers, by the way, are “No,” “Yes, in a Minnie Driver way,” and “Would I only need to do the testicle thing once?”)
-There is no day (besides Arbor Day) that I look forward to more than Teacher Evaluation Day. Not because I get a chance to provide feedback and constructive criticism on my $15,000 a year college education, thus improving the level of education for future generations, but because I get out of class 15 minutes early. These teacher evaluations kick ass.
-Over here our teacher evaluations are done on Scantron sheets, which has the double benefits of supporting the number 2 pencil industry and creating the illusion that these evaluations are super high-tech. Like they take all of the Scantron sheets and put them through a computer and create complex graphs that chart teacher progress, taking into account standard deviation and wind resistance. But really I bet it's just a blind janitor named Earl who goes through the evaluation sheets while wearing a mask without eye holes in a dark room. That's the only way I can explain how some of these profs got tenure.
-They take these evaluations so seriously, too. The professor has to actually leave the classroom while the evaluating is going on, so she can not in any way influence the outcome. I can't imagine a prof actually coming out and saying “Give me a bad evaluation and you'll fail the class and I'll whip you in my basement bare-ass naked. Give me a good one and I'll give you candy.” But that's what I used to think about my babysitter, too.
-Quote of the Moment: One of my classmates, upon being handed a teacher evaluation form: “It takes too long to read all these questions, so usually I just give the prof perfect marks. That way I get to go home sooner.” I'm starting to think students don't take these evaluations as seriously as the school administration does. Blind janitor Earl's going to have a field day with that one.
-At the end of every evaluation form is a space reserved for general comments. I never write anything there, because I'm a lazy bastard and besides, I write this “humor” column so that should be good enough for you. But I've seen other people write paragraph after paragraph in the comment space. Some of them even need extra paper to get all their thoughts out. I always wonder what they're writing. I bet it goes something like this: “Dear teacher. These last few months I've grown listless, and have not been sleeping well. I've noticed the sexual tension between us every time you walk by my desk, and can hold my passion in no longer. I love you, teacher. I want you. Please be mine…” Ok, that's probably not what anybody writes, but wouldn't that be totally awesome?
-You know that professor you really hated? The one you promised you'd give a scathing review at the end of the semester, as revenge for making you suffer the last four months? When it finally came time to do the evaluation, you were way nicer than you wanted to be, weren't you? Admit it. You're just not as big an asshole as you want to be. Besides, they certainly “demonstrated a clear understanding of the material.” Damn it!
-Anonymity is at the heart of teacher evaluations. How many people would dare write anything bad about someone if they had to put their name behind their words? Especially before the final exam gets graded.
-Have you noticed how when the teacher asks someone to oversee the evaluations (because the professor has to leave the room—God, pay attention!) it's always the biggest douchebag brown-noser in the class who puts up his hand. And then he (it's always a “he”) takes his job as “Evaluation Invigilator” WAY too seriously, counting up the Scantron sheets to make sure everyone has handed one in, and making sure nobody is stealing a number two pencil. Dude, you're not getting any bonus grades for delivering an envelope to the administrations office. Get over yourself. I forgot I had the pencil. I was going to give it back, I swear.
-I think they should do teacher evaluations like they do the voting on American Idol. After the semester is done, when you've been given a chance to get a real feeling for every one of your profs, you call an 800 number and the professor with the least votes is taken out back and beaten with a shovel by Earl, who because of this system has nothing else to do. We'd save a lot of paper that way, and helping the environment is what teacher evaluations are all about. Or maybe that's Arbor Day, I forget.