There’s a little trick that the university likes to play on students. It’s called the SRTEs, or the Student Rating of Teaching Effectiveness. Penn State likes to throw these at students during the last few weeks of classes. Usually, the only people who show up to the sessions when these forms are distributed are people who actually have good grades, or who are making a last-ditch effort to show the prof that they “really do want to learn.” If you hated the teacher, this is your chance to rip them an anonymous new one. If you loved the prof, here’s your time to blow sunshine. But you got one chance; if you missed that class session, you’re out of luck. Now, these nuisances are available online, and Penn State likes to remind me every day via email to submit my opinions because they “really do count.”
Now, I call this a trick because I’m a little torn about the actual effectiveness of these things. Usually, I fill out the forms with my honest opinion in hopes that my prof really does implement my suggestions that his PowerPoints are uploaded online before class so I can actually copy down all of the points or he slows down the pace of his presentation so I can write down every word. Maybe I’ve just been around for too many of these SRTE sessions. Maybe I’m just bitter. But I doubt that my “pejorative professor” from a few semesters ago is any less pompous, despite students’ best-intentioned comments.
This year, I probably will fill out these things (because it’s what I’m supposed to do) but I will despise every minute of it. And I will let my prof know that his reminiscences of his college days don’t really apply to the novel we’re reading and that I loved another prof, but more constructive feedback (any feedback) would really help the students. They are anonymous, after all.