Recognizing Dewey’s equation for wisdom: experience, plus reflection = knowledge, it is important to think deeply about the feedback given to me by my students. At home, in binders, I have ten years worth of student-feedback that takes up two of my cabinets. I keep my eye on their feedback like it is the last unicorn on earth. On my bad days, I might re-read an item or two.
Receiving feedback from students in classes taught at Syracuse University has been helped me to build my confidence as a teacher in the University setting. So much of my public school teaching success was my “Willy Wonka-esque” personality, and I wasn’t sure it would be well received in higher education. I’ve often referred to myself as the character on Ally McBeal named John whose nose would ring in court while defending his client and who had a hidden office within his office where he’d retreat to allow his eccentricities to be free. I dream of being a Jeopardy smart scholar, but then the Robin William’s/Jim Carrey side of me arrives. The result, I suppose, is the feedback I’ve received from students.
I offer the following pieces of feedback from students: