You can’t please everyone all of the time

On Monday, I gave my students at UMD a midpoint course evaluation to get their feedback about how class has been going. I have never had feedback quite as polarized as the feedback I received about the visual journal/sketchbook assignments that I have given. I read the following four student responses to the class in order to illustrate to them some of the contradictions and challenges that exist for teachers:

Student 1 wrote: “I wish there was a little more freedom to the visual journal activities. A lot of the criteria is very specific and you have to stick to that topic. I think it would be beneficial to us as a class to have some visual journal assignments that were more open and not pertaining to a certain academic topic.

Student 2 wrote: “The visual journals need more structure. At least to me they seem very broad and I like a little more direction.”

Student 3 wrote: “The visual journal assignments have good intention, but are pretty pointless to me. I am not learning anything from them.”

Student 4 wrote: “I think that the visual journals are going great because they get me to really think about the question in a visual aspect.”

Welcome to teaching, future teachers. You can’t please everyone all of the time.


One thought on “You can’t please everyone all of the time

  1. Mary Elizabeth says:

    I had similiar feedback last semester (haven’t gotten this semester’s feedback yet). I dealt with it by creating a menu of entries but only labeling about 20% of them “required.” So those that need more direction have specific prompts to use and those that don’t have the freedom to create their own entry. They are still required to have a certain number of entries but have the ability to construct their own in relation to course (and life) content if they choose.

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