SO. Maybe all y'all can help me with that.
On the written comment form, one question is "If you were asked how the instructor could help you learn more successfully in this course, what would you recommend?"
My hand to God, I am not cherry-picking these answers. This is all of 'em.
"Classes be more entertaining." (I have no words.)
"She should want the student to succeed." (This is pretty damning, if true, but what leads the student to think I don't want him/her to succeed?)
"Be more helpful when students come ask for help." (None did. I had exactly zero visitors to my office hours.)
"Stop saying Fab to everything." (I do say that a lot, and I remember from my own undergrad days that instructor's particular verbal tics can really get on your nerves after a semester, but....honestly.)
"A new teacher."
"Go to their office hours and hope to get a spot." (This person, I guess, misunderstood the question and thought she was supposed to give advice to a future student. I guess. Again, not so hard to get a spot at my office hours.)
"Get students more motivated." (This is one of the more helpful comments in the batch.)
"Make the class harder. Everything was stuff we already know." (This student brought this problem to my attention during the semester. She probably should have gone straight to 015. Since it's an outlier, I can probably safely disregard this one.)
"Don't be so mean."
"Nothing, she did what she could." (The only positive comment in the bunch. I think I know which student this was, too--she wrote in her journals a lot about what a pain it was that no one in the class did any work.)
"Didn't answer the question." (My best guess is that this student meant that he/she didn't want to answer the question, but it may mean that I didn't answer students' questions, or that I shouldn't have. I'm a little mystified)
"More positive toward the class."
"She just talk like we already know the information which is not the case." (If this was more detailed, it could be useful feedback...on the other hand, I probably say, "Does anyone have any questions?" almost as often as I say "Fab," so it's not like this person didn't have a chance to ask for more detail on whatever information she felt I was glossing over too quickly.)
"Learn more material to do with English 15." (Again, this might be useful if I knew what it meant. On the other hand, who knows what the student thinks English 015 is like, and if his/her perception is at all accurate?)
"Learn how to teach and grade."
"Quit." (These two were probably sitting next to each other.)
"Lower your standards." (Second time for this idea. I'm going to be humming the Carlos Mencia parody "Lower the standards" for the rest of the day, at least.)
"She was a horrible teacher and person." (I can't begin to imagine how many meetings I'd have to go to if I wrote on a student's paper that he/she was a horrible writer and person, or even just a horrible writer.)
"You should lower your standards when it comes to the papers."
"Lower standards for this class!" (Hat trick!)
"Make it more interesting Also to change grading (very strict and not lean)" (Last word doesn't make sense, but that's what it says.)
"Don't be so demanding. Don't grade us like Wall Stret Journal Writers. Your expectations were very high." (I'm going to count this as "lower the standards" #5. I'm amused and a little mystified by the WSJ reference.)
"Nothing really." (I guess that counts as positive too.)
" " (Left blank)
"Don't even try. This is an English 4 class it was supposed to prepare us for higher writing and it didn't. The grading is too harsh for the level we were at." (This student says elsewhere on the form that "the majority of the class got D's," which is not the case. I explained to the class--several times--that the grading on essays would be strict, but in-class assignments and homework would be leniently graded, and on journals they'd get full credit as long as they did it, so it all balances out. The only people who got D's or F's were those who screwed up very, very badly.)
"To actually tell us what she wants instead of assuming we already know." (Like the similar comment about ten lines up, this one gets at something important--but again, there's no shortage whatsoever of opportunities to ask question if I'm not being clear enough about what they're supposed to do.)
So, you can see, the majority of these comments are childish, mean-spirited, and/or stupid. What am I supposed to take away from this? I'm inclined to engage in serious self-reflection about getting a different job. I mean honestly. I probably am a little crankier than would be ideal, but look what kind of spoiled brats I have to deal with.