The semester just ended, which means it is time to review course evaluations. These feedback forms are notoriously problematic, but I encourage students to give me feedback and take what they say seriously. More than just that what students write can end up in a document I use for job applications, these are formative evaluations that can help me refine my practice. That is probably why a single negative review can cause such a sharp sting.
Reader: I got one of those this semester.
But I don’t want to write about that. Instead, I want to share something that happened this semester: a student wrote down what I said. Not note-taking during a lecture, but writing down specific things that I said and then handing me a copy of this list on the final day.
Here’s a taste:
“If a monster’s just out there fishing or something, is it a monster?”
“Moose are big and scary as opposed to brown bears who are big and stupid.”
“Remember people: only barbarians wear pants.”
“Cassandra’s curse is that she’ll never be believed. I’m sure many ladies can relate.”
[speaking of Theseus] “He prays to Big Ocean Daddy.”
Sometimes discussions turn into improv and I say things specifically to prompt a response, here in a seminar on monsters, monstrosity, and classical mythology. Given that this is the sort of thing I did in classes with my favorite professors in college, this was immensely flattering — if also momentarily terrifying.