The end of the semester also means a turning of the tables: it’s time for law students to evaluate the professors who have (or hopefully, have not) tortured them all semester.
We’ll be honest, we never had the heart to give a professor a terrible review; if things were bad, we just abstained. (Though we did once use the opportunity to compliment Prof. David Rabban on his brilliant shirt and tie combinations.)
More honest souls, however, use the opportunity to tell professors how they really feel.
A new article by one professor asks that, should you choose that route, you be thorough about it.
While I don’t try to influence my written student evaluations — other than by teaching well — I have occasionally told my classes that cryptically negative comments, such as, “You suck,” while perhaps true, are not particularly helpful. I have then clarified that it’s perfectly all right for them to write that I suck, but that if they want me to stop sucking, they had better tell me, with some degree of specificity, just how I suck.
The full article is available in The Law Teacher here (in PDF).
So, you heard it here first. Be honest, but spell it out.
*Pictured, of course, is the world’s most famous (former) law professor. It’s amusing to think that there are University of Chicago law grads out there who once had the opportunity to review the future president. For what’s it’s worth, a person we know who took his class gave him rave reviews.
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