Classes wrapped up here on campus this Wednesday, "Reading Day" was yesterday (although I don't think most of the students do much reading), and finals begin today. It's been a long semester - as they always are - and you never know exactly how things went from the students' perspectives. The semesters where I thought I have done the best resulted in some of my lower evaluation scores and vice versa. But this semester I am hopeful for, nay expecting good evaluations. At least from my undergrads. Lemme esplain.
After our final lecture on Wednesday, I had two things happen to me that have never happened before.
1. A student brought me cupcakes.
2. Another student asked to take a picture with me.
The cupcakes don't really jive with my current attempt to become skinny and faster, but I ate one anyway and gave the rest to some of our great support staff. So not only did this student give me cupcakes, she also scored me some brownie points with the people who can make your life very easy, or very hard.
The picture was with an international student who told me I was the best professor she had during her semester here in the U.S. There was no alcohol in the picture, and I am confident it will not end up on facebook.
Neither student was in any position to need to suck up to me; both are getting excellent grades already. So I feel like both were being genuine.
A few other things have happened this week that make me think the semester went well. I had students voluntarily send me things like funny finance/econ youtube clips for the course blog (yes, there are videos which are related to finance/econ while also being funny). I had a student stop by my office to tell me how much he liked the class and offer to help TA it next fall - for FREE (his offer was likely not totally altruistic, I'm sure a letter of recommendation would be part of the deal).
I'm sure I will get my evaluations back in January only to find out that my course and I are not as popular as I might like to think, but until then I am going to feel good about my teaching this semester.