My class was observed twice this semester—first by the chair of the department, and last Wednesday, by the head of my cluster. The first time, if I may be very blunt about it, was a class I bombed. My ‘performance’ was below par, the students were unruly (I probably overdid my laissez faire-type of classroom management), I appeared unready with my lecture, and probably I was. But the one two days ago was different—I was confident. I felt unprepared ten minutes before my second class, panicking and finding incoherent the text I was reading at the eighth minute, and knew I was a centimeter close to totally blacking out at the fifth minute, and by the time the bell rang signaling the start of my 2:30 class, I was all perked up to commence.
Class evaluation by another more senior faculty was a controversial proposition back when I was still teaching at UP as most senior members of the faculty signified their lack of desire to be evaluated in their teaching by anyone from a different field of expertise. Junior faculty members followed the line of argument of the older faculty and also refused evaluation. As a result, compulsory classroom evaluation at UP did not materialize, but was, however, agreed upon to be done on a voluntary basis. My teaching style and skills in managing the classroom did not go through any form of evaluation except through a teaching appraisal system where students tick numerical values gauging the different aspects of an instructor’s teaching and a part where they are asked to write a short comment to include those that were not covered by the previous instrument. This helped me a little as results come out a year after, and by then I’d be least interested to care.
Ateneo on the other hand is rather proactive in terms of evaluating its faculty. I’d get the result of my evaluation by my student at the middle and end of the semester.
I was happy with the result of the second evaluation. I know the room for improvement is still unremittingly spacious, but having been told by a senior colleague, ‘If I were a college student I’d love to be in your class,’ was more than enough for now.