Interesting thought, isn't it?
To what degree should we be concerned with student satisfaction? As an instructor in higher education, I am acutely aware of my end-of-term evaluations, and sites like Rate My Professors (I don't look at my reviews there...yikes...) that allow students to sit in the evaluator's seat and give the instructor a "grade." It's a tricky dance; it certainly feels good to have students give you accolades about your teaching...but does that mean catering to what they want, to their whims? Or does that mean challenging them with what they need...even if they don't necessarily want it? What is the mark of satisfaction in learning?
And how about it K-12 schools? Should we care what our students think about our teaching? Let's be real about this: even kids know good teaching from poor teaching. By the time they were in my 7th grade homeroom, the middle school students were keenly aware of the quality of their teachers--and not just based on something as ephemeral as the teacher doing what they liked. For example...very few kids like homework, right? But kids can tell the difference between crappy homework and thoughtfully-crafted practice.
Kids are aware of the teachers who just keep photocopying the same worksheets and tests that they used 15 years ago, or recycling the same PowerPoint slides, or showing that same VHS tape that they were using in 1998. Not that there is anything wrong with re-using things you've done in the past--we can't reinvent the wheel every year, nor should we have to!--but kids are definitely savvy enough to tell when the teacher is coasting, and when the teacher is carefully, thoughtfully creating a learning environment with an atmosphere that invites the students into exploring.
I wonder which teachers would cry the loudest if an administrator would want to implement a student satisfaction system like the one pictured above?
Would it be the teacher who is striving to really meet the needs of the students? Or would it be the one who is just putting in time?
The teacher who wants to improve and get better? Or the teacher who is pretty sure s/he is doing just fine?
Who would want the feedback? Who would be willing to rethink their teaching based on the feedback?
If questions like these are making you feel a bit uncomfortable...
Where does that place you?
Do you want to know how satisfied your students are with your teaching?
|Are students our customers? Should we be concerned with their satisfaction?|
Image by agaumont [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0]