Wednesday, June 24, 2009

No-Sweat FCQs

I have only had 3 semesters of FCQs, but the experiences of reading that first set and reading the most recent set seem light-years apart.

With my first FCQs, I avoided opening the envelopes for months, opened it to mediocre scores and one very negative comment, and required a considerable amount of moral support and encouragement to teach again. I still have that negative comment memorized word for word.

With my most recent FCQs, I couldn't bring myself to be worried. I had a moment, toward the end of the semester, thinking that if the FCQs were worse than the last semester, after the training I've had and the work I've put in, I would be incredibly depressed. I haven't thought about it since, and when I learned that FCQs had been returned, I went out of my way to pick them up. I took a careless glance at the scores immediately, in the minute before a meeting.

The scores did not disappoint. It was extremely gratifying to see a row of 5-point-somethings on a 6-point scale. TA's interest and knowledge: 5.9. Instructor overall: 5.7. Use median instead of mean, and both were 6.0.

My teaching portfolio now shows a lovely increase in FCQs, a learning curve that seems (to me) perfectly reasonable in showing that I have improved my teaching skills as part of my graduate training. With any luck, prospective employers will be impressed. And if all else fails, at least I can look forward to teaching the class again in the Spring.

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