My Students Reflect on Their Year in My Math Class

On the last day of classes this year, I gave my math students a brief questionnaire. It was a self-reflection for me, where I essentially asked them what they thought of me (especially since I was a first year teacher) and how they liked/disliked our class.

I told them I wouldn’t take a look at what they wrote until after they took their final exams and their semester grades were submitted. I kept my word. I didn’t read them until after the school year ended.

As I quickly learned, what I thought was an incentive for them to be brutally honest turned into an opportunity for a select few to amuse themselves…

Here’s an abbreviated collection of responses to my questions, spelling and grammar unchanged:

Name (optional):

  • Adolf Hitler
  • Manbearpig

Period:

  • I’m on it now.

Name at least three things you would change about this class:

  • Bring food, bikini girls and beer
  • No homework. No quizzes. No tests.

What did I do as a teacher that you liked? Disliked?

  • Your a BAMF
  • I thought you were pretty laid back and cool. No offence but you are a nerd/geek/loser. No offence.
  • Made it seem like we weren’t learning a lot but we got through everything.

Your friends are taking this class with me next year… What will you tell them about it?

  • I don’t have any friends :(
  • I don’t know if I will be discussing math w/ friends…
  • Your cool but trig blows
  • Mr Mehta rocks! And he wrote a book but I forgot the name of it.
  • Hes really weird but a good teacher
  • Mr Mehta has no soul + he makes math kind of fun!

Were there any days/activities that stood out in your mind?

  • [Referring to "Flatland: The Movie"] When we watched that trippy video about the living squares and hexagons and stuff

What should I do more of? What should I do less of?

  • Less learning

Did you study for quizzes and tests? If so, for how long? (Please be honest)

  • I honestly didn’t study at all. I do the HW but I did poorly on tests/quizzes.
  • I never studied once (I never have for any class though)

Any other comments/concerns?

  • Write another book: I Sold My Soul to My Math Class
  • Black power. I’m down with Latinos too.

Lovely.

Next year, they’re *so* just ranking everything from 1 to 5.

(For what it’s worth, I did get a lot of genuine, worthwhile responses from most students.)


[tags]math, teaching, education[/tags]

  • http://jbrtva.blogspot.com Jess

    Amazing. :-) Absolutely amazing. I like that you’re a dork/nerd/loser. I’d probably rank right up there…but so would most high school math teachers. :-)

  • Derek

    Man, it would have been awesome to have you as my trig teacher. Instead I took it with the wife of a local minister that was embezzling money from his church to feed his gambling habit. Ironically though, she did teach me skepticism by giving examples of misleading statistics every day. She taught me all about correlation and causation, which was really cool at the time.

  • Milena

    BAMF indeed. =)

  • http://www.evolvedrational.com Evolved Rationalist

    :)

  • Jen

    BAMF took me about ten minutes to figure out. We’re talking like Shaft, right?

    I hope you have a stern talking-to with the English teachers about “Your” verses “You’re”.

  • Amber

    I’d die to have you as a math teacher. How would you like to teach Algebra 1 next year in rural North Carolina? :D

  • http://www.flatlandthemovie.com Dano

    As one of the filmmakers behind ‘Flatland: The Movie’, I appreciate the feedback!!! :)

  • Jodie

    Clearly the “no offense” commentator is unaware that nerdy is the new black.

  • kirk

    Whenever I filled these out for teachers, if I liked them I always mixed in a bunch of jokes with my honest critiques. So, I’d say those are the ones you’ll want to pay the most attention to. Oddly enough, all of my favorite teachers were always math or science teachers.

  • http://www.otmatheist.com/ Jason Horton

    “Mr Mehta has no soul + he makes math kind of fun!” You soulless math joy enabler you.

  • http://www.let-me-be-frank.blogspot.com smellincoffee

    It could be worse! This year, in my French History class, we students had a class-wide conspiracy to suggest that our instructor regale us with his imitation of French peasant dancing.

    I also suggested that he implement a ventriloquist act into his lectures.

  • http://www.atheistrev.com vjack

    I think you said before that this was high school, right? For what it’s worth, the comments I get in college courses aren’t always much more serious. Everybody’s gotta be a comedian.

  • http://atheistblogger.com Adrian Hayter

    So no nasty comments about you being an atheist? I’m impressed.

  • Alexandre

    Awww I think you should keep this next year just for fun. Rating 1 to 5 is boring and don’t end up in funny posts xP

    This is hilarious ^^’

    “Mr Mehta rocks! And he wrote a book but I forgot the name of it.”
    “Write another book: I Sold My Soul to My Math Class”

  • http://evolutionofpseudoscience.wordpress.com Lindsay

    Interestingly enough, this level of maturity has trickled into comments from the University students I teach, as well. I think my favorite from this year with “Mrs. Masland is hot. I want her at night.”

  • Ada

    I agree that college students’ comments aren’t much different. Even the ones that might seem reasonable (e.g. “your office hours are inconvenient for me”) are stupid in context (e.g. repeatedly stressing that I will meet outside office hours if you let me know ahead of time). I rarely got any decent feedback.

    I really want to check out the trippy movie now, though.

  • http://www.bernerbits.com Derek

    Mr Mehta has no soul + he makes math kind of fun!

    Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitch!

  • Ron in Houston

    Pretty funny stuff. Sounds like you’ve got some budding comedians.

  • http://agersomnia.blogspot.com Agersomnia

    Nerdy and geek might combine with “no offense” in some social groups… But loser…
    Maybe because english is not my first language, but could somebody tell me what is the BAMF?
    I do love the “I have no friends :( ” one. Almost made me cry.
    BTW, I Sold My Soul to My Math Class sounds like a fun book to write.
    Mr Mehta, would you teach differential calculus to a psychologist?

  • http://undiscoveredfuture.blogspot.com Rebecca

    Haha, this was great!
    And I agree with what someone else said – that you should use the questions again next year. They’ll be more entertaining to read, and more meaningful from the students that take it seriously.

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    Ah, the joys of teaching!

    I love those comments! Very funny and creative. They have spunk. :-)

  • http://lfab-uvm.blogspot.com/ C. L. Hanson

    Aw, they’re cute!

  • False Prophet

    Jen said,

    June 23, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    BAMF took me about ten minutes to figure out. We’re talking like Shaft, right?

    Shut yo’ mouth! ;-)


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