"bad" evaluations given by students of faculty

  1. I know that we tell students to take feedback given to them in a professional way, not personal...but it is so difficult to read the student's feedback of my teaching and not feel like I am being attacked and worried for my job. It is so hard when students are so upset over a grade on a care plan or skills check offs--the reviews come back that instructor was too demanding, too much work assigned, unfair grade compared to others. I document everything--so if a student gets a B in clinical--there is usually documentation of performance weaknesses or issues. Or if they fail a skill or are struggling in the lab there is documentation put in their file. If a student is a safety risk they should be held accountable I believe. If they continue to make an error is practicing a skill or sterile technique--they should be held accountable. Not everyone is an A student. I am just so tired of being told by students on reviews that I am a harder instructor than others or grade harder than others. Should I compromise my values of holding students accountable and ease my grading (inflate grades) just so I can get better reviews? Although most all my students end up doing the work and getting As in clinical and skills labs, it seems as if they have a hard time with feedback. I am a very nice and open person and try to always be kind and friendly to my students, but will I have to take a perhaps different approach with giving feed back? I try to give praises to students, but I keep it simple and say good job, nice technique, I liked how you communicated that...Do I need to fluff the praises more? There is not enough time to tell all individual 20 students in a lab class how well they are doing. Any tips on how to make the students feel more special?
    Any suggestions on receiving anonymous feedback from students that feels like they are attacking you for just doing your job?
  2. 23 Comments

  3. by   ladytraviler
    I am sorry you feel this way. It is not a reflection on you but on how intitaled society has become. I applaud you for sticking to your guns. If you don't keep to your standards then what will happen when those who complain are in the working world? Would you want them taking care of you? I think the biggest disservice we are doing to students today is dumbing down classes. I can remember when classes were hard and the grades reflected the amount of work you put in. Just remember that not everyone will be happy no matter what you do. The only other thing I can suggest is to warn the class that previous classes have said that you are a hard teacher, but all you do is hold everyone to the same standards and expectations.
  4. by   ashley024
    I'm normally just a reader here. But, I wanted to comment on this. I just finished school. Throughout the time I spent in actual nursing classes I can't even count how many times I heard that so and so was too difficult. Especially during proficiency. It always confused me because I've always preferred it that way. If nursing school was meant to be easy everyone could do it. I admire and respect my instructors because they were strict during clinical but also lenient enough to where I didn't feel overwhelmed.
    I think that they are being somewhat dramatic and maybe don't want to put in the effort to do well. So, to justify their poor performance they lay blame on you. Which bothers me since I believe in accountability in all things.
    Sorry this is long winded. But honestly I say stick to your guns. You worked too hard to get where you are to let those who may be incompetent slip by just because they may not like your way of teaching.
  5. by   alovesjos
    I don't think that you should expect less of students. I just graduated from nursing school in May and I had instructors from both ends of the spectrum. I have always been a good student - but I always received grades in the mid 80's in nursing school. My instructors were not to blame, it was myself. However, I did have one instructor that was very difficult. But that was because she was belittling and rude: actually swore in class multiple times and once said that she should "******* kill us" because we were not comprehending her shock lecture which was taught with primarily concept maps! That, I believe is inappropriate and the sign of a "BAD" instructor. I did write very specifically as did most of my classmates about her behavior on her performance evaluation! But she was the exception. I had other hard instructors - but I appreciated it. I want to know that when I graduated, I graduated capable of performing safely and effectively! I didn't want to just be flown through nursing school and unable to pass NCLEX when I graduate. Students should be expected to pull their weight! I also found that it is not fair for students that do well and work hard on papers and clinical skills that other students are graded equally by "nice" instructors because they don't want them to fail. I hate to see someone fail too - but they should EARN their grades! It is not fair if one student puts in 15 hours on a paper and another 3 and they get the same grade because the instructor don't want to be mean! Instructors need to be fair and honest. Prepare students for the real world. I think that your supervisors realize that and they take into account that students evaluations may be swayed by emotion. Their bottom line is passing students that are capable of passing NCLEX on the first try and making good, SAFE nurses! I wouldn't change what you are doing. It is a disservice to fluff compliments or expect less! Hope that helps!
  6. by   mitral
    You will likely find that you still get bad reviews, even if you soften your approach. It may be less, but students will still complain. Too bad you can't insist that the other instructors raise their standards, instead of feeling like you have to lower yours! Our teachers were the fluffy kind, by 2nd semester we all knew it didnt really matter if you failed because you could set up a private meeting, cry in the teachers office, and they would pass you. It's frustrating for those of us who actually do the work, but we're the minority. Also, many embarassing and potentially dangerous incidents could have been avoided in our clinical hours if they had done a bit more to prepare us for real nursing. Just thought i'd share a students perspective. Thanks for actually caring and not just being there for the paycheck!
  7. by   Burlshoe114
    Here is the hard thing... No one here on the board has seen you teach or can say with any authority if you are or are not too hard on your students or how you can improve. I don't know you or your style. It may not be what you expect from your students, but how you approach your students. Maybe it is just student fatigue from a hard quarter/semester of working their butts off! :-)
    Like I said - I just don't know.
    The person who would know is your department head. Have they said anything to you about this? How about the other instructors? Are they also getting negative reviews from students?
  8. by   Whispera
    When you get negative evaluations, consider how many students are evaluating negatively. If it's only a couple and those are the ones that had difficulty with your course, take what they say with a grain of salt. People tend to evaluate down the middle, with more evaluating positively rather than negatively. Those that have trouble with the class could project their personal frustration onto you, if they're not ready to accept it themselves. If, however, many of your students evaluate you negatively, that's a sign that you need to re-think what you're doing...

    No! Don't change how you do things just because you are different than other instructors. Maybe you are the appropriate instructor and the others are too easy! It's good to document everything though. We have to hold student accountable for what they do or don't do. We don't want them graduating and going into the workplace doing substandard work or not completing things that need to be done. That doesn't make for safe patient care.

    Try to give each student some private time each lab or clinical time--just a minute or two to ask how things are going and to make suggestions. When someone does something nicely, make a remark about what he or she did well, as you said you did. Praise realistic-ly and not over-the-top. Don't fluff but also avoid the neutral "good job" praise. Make it more specific. Also, if they have written work, make lots of notes/suggestions for improvement on the work before you give it back. Give it back by the next class period so they can build on it. If someone is not doing things adequately, tell him/her the reasons it's not adequate. Or, say... "____ is good. How about doing ____?" Definitely confront the negatives. Give work back to be re-done but make sure the student knows what needs to be redone.

    It's difficult to be an instructor and step out of nice person thinking. We're not always what people consider nice when we are teachers. We aren't our students' friend. Do what you need to do to help them become the best nurses they can be.

    Try not to take it personally--remember it is NOT all about you if you get negative evaluations...
  9. by   JoyfulNurseLPN
    I agree with Whispera, that if it's a few students leaving negative feedback about your performance as an instructor it should be taken with a grain of salt. However, if you're noticing or have been notified that over half (or more)students are reporting that they encountered some difficulty with you and have made the effort to notate that
    on your evaluation - then this is something I would pay attention to.

    It shouldn't however be interpreted as a signal that you need to alter your treatment of students (IE, inflating grades, dolling out glowing reviews and praise that is unwarranted, etc.), rather; use this information as a sign that you might be a little on the ''harder'' side. There is nothing WRONG with being a difficult instructor. Many of my instructors in
    LPN school were _VERY_ difficult, but I loved them for it. I learned the most from them.

    My advice for a ''harder'' clinical instructor; not every student has a hard shell. Some very sensitive, emotional, touchy people are student nurses, I think they're drawn to the profession because they like to help people. One student may take your criticism as constructive and use it accordingly, while another may take it as a personal attack. One student may have received a lower grade for a clinical session or specific task and it acts to exacerbate their low self confidence - where another student admits that their performance has led to the lower grade.

    You sound like a _really good_ instructor, honestly I wish there were more like you out there. There are some nasty, rotten instructors out there lurking around. Some of them like to target students they ''feel'' shouldn't be nurses (with no
    hard evidence to support their ''feeling''(IE, incompetent performance, med errors, etc)), some of them don't like ''male nurses'' and don't think men should be part of the profession, some of them have very big ego problems.

    You, sound like you are doing just fine
    Last edit by JoyfulNurseLPN on Dec 9, '12 : Reason: error.
  10. by   Twinmom06
    there's a difference between being a challenging instructor and being a BAD instructor...we just did our SRTE's for clinical/professors and I don't have a problem with challenging, I have a problem with Jekyll and Hyde behavior, not knowing which instructor is going to show up at clinical, being bipolar, and giving guilt trips about skills...

    if you're challenging someone and they're not getting it, yet rating your poorly, then yes, take that as a sign of entitlement - however if you fit the above description, it has nothing to do with entitlement, and everything to do with personality...
  11. by   %63theend
    I know this is an old thread but I'm seeing it for the first time and want to comment, if not for you then for future readers/educators. I haven't been out of nursing school long.... about 8 months. So it's still fresh to me. When I had really difficult classes/instructors I found it was helpful to my attitude to have the expectations laid out clearly from the beginning. So if I started to get upset about how something was weighted or whatever I could look back at the syllabus and remind myself it was all laid out before the class started and I should've known that's how it would be. Basically leave no room for questions on how things will be graded or how the class will be structured. Lay everything out on the table ahead of time. And I'll be the devil's advocate here and say leave room for extra credit. NO ONE does this anymore! But I can tell you any effort a student makes to earn a few extra points is EXTRA TIME a student spends on the material. And they learn! I had one teacher in undergrad who offered extra credit. It was my microbiology teacher. I LOVED THAT CLASS. I ended up with a 107 for the course because I did the extra credit to provide myself a cushion. Turns out I didn't need the cushion! But I learned A TON! I actually have the book beside my bed right now and look through it often even though i took that class at least 4 years ago. I think providing students with the ability to "control" their grades a little more or with assignments unique to THEIR learning style is incredibly beneficial. Might help with "likable" factor as well
  12. by   classicdame
    It might be beneficial for all the nursing staff to have a round table discussion regarding evaluations. Perhaps co-workers can help identify any deficits or suggest strategies to overcome the negativity. I doubt the other instructors are complaint-free. Have you watched "Restaurant:Impossible" on the food channel? They tape people working in restaurants then interview them later about any negative language or behaviors. It amazes me how the workers deny they did anything wrong, even though the viewer sees it happening live. Could be the students are the same way. If you ask someone to vent, expect them to vent.
  13. by   lub dub
    I've found (after 8 years of teaching in an associate degree nursing program) that students with good grades give favorable evaluations, and students with bad grades give unfavorable evaluations. It has to do with taking ownership of your education. Students with good grades say "I got an 'A'", while students with bad grades say "My teacher gave me a 'D'".
  14. by   chanie911
    From a student perspective (though I can of course only speak for myself), I don't necessarily agree that a poor evaluation is because of a poor grade--nor is it necessarily due to a strict instructor. I value greatly the professors who have high expectations of me and my class, because I know I will ultimately learn the most from these professors, even if my grades aren't "perfect" (and in my program we ARE under immense pressure to maintain a high GPA, so I don't say that lightly).
    To me, the difference between a "good" instructor and one who might ultimately not get a favorable review from me is how invested in the class/material/students s/he seems--there are professors that we've ALL struggled to pass, but who are immensely passionate about the material, and I give them great reviews. Likewise, there have been courses that I would not have gone to if attendance wasn't mandatory, had the highest grades in, and felt as though the professor was reciting her material from a script she'd memorized a decade before--THAT professor got a less-favorable review. (If she doesn't care about the subject, what's to inspire us to?)
    Just my 2 cents....I'm sure not all students agree with my take on things, but I think it's less about "easy" and "grades" and more about being IN the experience with the students that makes a good professor.....