Questions We Wish SRTEs Actually Asked
As the temperature begins to drop, classes come to a close, and December rolls in, we come closer to everyone’s favorite time of the semester — filling out SRTEs. The bi-annual student evaluation of teachers and TAs comes just before finals, looking to get a student’s perspective on how effectively their professors ran their classes. But by asking the same, boring questions every semester, the university is missing some critical pieces of information about how the class is run. Here are the questions we think they should be asking:
1. Did the professor tell enough dad jokes to carry the class through the semester?
I don’t mean to generalize, but I think it’s safe to say everyone performs better when there are more dad jokes in the class. Something about a professor telling dad jokes just makes a class better. Maybe it’s being able to laugh for a moment and forget that you’re going to crash and burn during the next day’s test that helps, or the fact that if the professor has the same sense of humor as your dad, he can’t be that smart and intimidating, because your dad doesn’t even know how to turn on the TV sometimes. Either way, dad jokes are a surefire way to improve classroom morale, and should be taken seriously.
2. Did your professor have any abnormal physical or verbal habits? Could they be turned into a drinking game?
This one isn’t as important for evaluation of effectiveness, but if we’re actually going to be allowed to see SRTE results before signing up for classes in the near future, this is something I would like to see. Now, don’t get the wrong idea, I don’t drink in class, nor am I suggesting you should make a drinking game out of class, but towards the end of the semester when you’re sitting in a gen ed you have no interest in, it’s always good to have options.
3. Did your professor make you buy a book? Did you actually use the book? Did your professor make any money off the book you didn’t use?
The only thing worse than actually buying a textbook is buying a textbook that a professor says you need, not using it, and then selling it back at a discount because, god forbid, you breathed on the book or get dust on the plastic wrap you never even took it out of and now it’s only worth a stupid amount of money instead of a really stupid amount. If the professor makes you buy a book you don’t use, and it’s a textbook that’s only good for a semester, they should be fired immediately and in an embarrassing, public setting.
4. Was this professor really “literally the worst,” or did he just not give you the grade you wanted?
This question also applies to 8 a.ms, weed-out entrance to major classes, any class on a Friday afternoon, classes that need a 95 for an A, and any class with a Friday final exam.
5. Did your professor really suck at anything we didn’t ask about?
It feels like at least once a semester, I have a professor I just can’t stand. Maybe it’s because a school as big as Penn State is bound to have some bad teachers, the fact I’m a huge prick, or a combination of the two, but there have been at least a few professors I’ve had where I genuinely couldn’t wait to fill out the SRTEs to complain. And yet, it seems like whenever I fill out the evaluations, the thing I want to complain about is never listed. In fact, a lot of times, the questions I get asked are, somehow, only about the things the professor isn’t horrible at, blissfully ignorant of all the teacher’s flaws.
6. Does you professor have any interest in teaching, or does he/she clearly just care about research?
In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with this as long as they give you extra credit for participating in their research.
7. Does your professor make you turn your Twitter account into insufferable garbage for credit?
#Fresheyes is the worst thing that has ever existed. Ever. The only things worse than poverty are tweets from freshmen who think they’re the first people to be aware it exists, and have some responsibility to tell everyone about it.
What questions would you like to see on SRTEs? Let us know in the comments!