Monday, August 24, 2009

“No Matter How High Their Heels, My Boots Never Rate a ‘Strongly Agree’”

As the new semester revs up this week, my thoughts drift back to an adjunct instructor whom I mentored last year.

A cool, lithe blonde, she shared with me how difficult it had always been for her to get valid, helpful student feedback in end-of-semester evaluations.

“Sing Hosannah to the choir, Sister!” my enthusiastic phantom mental churchgoer person chimed in. As I nodded vigorously and started leafing through my hymnal, I also thought, “Don't I know what you’re talking about, Blondie Adjunct! When I read the comments from students at the end of the term, they usually veer from ‘We should have used the textbook more’ directly to ‘I wish we hadn’t used the book so much’ to ‘This class, which I dreaded, has made me love writing’ to ‘I want my money back; all this class taught me was to write a thesis-driven academic essay’ to—an all-time favorite—‘Jocelyn certainly seems to think she’s funny.’

Oh, yes, I am well familiar with the cacophony and discord that constitute a class’ final assessment of my performance. As I started to raise my hand to give Blondie Adjunct a high five of solidarity, she continued her original train of thought:

“I mean, year after year I’ve had to caution students, when evaluation time comes around, that they should not be complimenting me on my ‘lovely dress with the dragonflies’ or on my ‘delightful dangly earrings’ or asking me where I get my hair cut.” Almost moaning at this point, she went on: “I actually have to tell them to keep their comments focused on my teaching and their learning and not my appearance.”

Nonplussed, I felt my high fiving hand drop down to my side, where it hung limply, kind of reddish and frecklish and wrinkledy, not at all blondish or coolish or lissome.

Strange, thought my hand and the person attached to it,

I’ve never run into that problem.

These reminiscences now have me reconsidering my first-day-of-class outfit for tomorrow:


Clearly, I’m going for something memorable enough to merit admiring words 16 weeks from now. All I want is for the comments on their evaluations to sidestep mention of textbooks, learning to write, and my attempts at humor.

Indeed, if their comments revolve around my appearance, won’t that make me an Honorary Blonde?

I've always wanted to have more fun.

20 comments:

Midlife Jobhunter said...

I think that gig will work. Love hair, dahling.

flutter said...

check out those gams!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Having filled out many an eval in the past couple of years, I would think that outfit might rate a mention.

Someone really said "Jocelyn seems to think she's funny?" 'Cause that's what my KIDS say about me.

Sid said...

LOL! Man some people's lives are really difficult. Complaining about how how people compliment her on her appearance. Sheesh.

Pearl said...

Love the outfit! I'd have gone with hobnailed boots, but the suede heels lend an air of je ne sais quois that, well, I don't know what.

:-)

Pearl

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Ha! Brilliant!
I'd have kept my hand up and slapped Blondie;)

Chantal said...

Whoooeee Teacher Jos, You sure is sexy in them boots!

Jazz said...

Well poor blondie.

Now, let me raise my glass (er... mug of tea) to your outfit. You rule.

Becky Cazares said...

Love the outfit! I *so* want to take your class! Or at least be a fly on the wall - that way I don't have to worry about my grade!

Well, in MY college, teacher evaluation time translates to "if I get this stupid thing filled out really fast it's almost like getting out of class 10 minutes early." So, naturally, out of sympathy for the poor prof (or TA), I try very hard to write something profound and, heck yeah, TRUE on mine (as I'm usually stuck in class anyway collecting all of them to take to the student union cuz no one else volunteers for this thankless job!). Don't recall ever commenting on outfits, tho, but I'm not sure I ever had a blonde one... Something to look forward to this semester!

Jeni said...

The outfit you modeled looks somewhat like one the lady who was one of the theatre profs at PSU and she was usually one of the highest rated profs on campus. So, if it didn't hurt her ratings, surely it will work the same for you too! (She was, in my opinion, one of the best profs I had during my four years there -if that helps your thought process on this subject at all.)
I'd say the outfit is sure to get their attention for that particular session anyway! Grab that attention any way you can!

jess said...

Can I borrow that when you're done with it...?

yinyang said...

I have two blonde instructors this semester with impeccable dress sense. However, I am also not stupid enough to actually comment on that when evaluation time comes around. Sometimes I really wonder if I overestimate people's intelligence.

I don't know whether to be impressed or horrified by your outfit. In my opinion, that blue hair doesn't suit you at all. The axe is nice, though.

Yo is Me said...

nice calves!!

Pam said...

"Oh you think you're so funny" echoes around our house. Actually I do!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

It's great as far as it goes, but that headdress cries out for a large sequined Maltese Cross incorporated into the design, and maybe you could arrive on that wooden rocking horse behind a herd of serfs with trumpets.

As for being an honorary blond, most of them are really just voluntary blonds anyway. No biggie. You can easily do the honors yourself. On second thought, you would absolutely guarantee the feedback you crave if you arrived like a redheaded Lady Godiva on your wooden horse without all the dye mess in the bathroom sink. But good luck, darling. I know your outfit will be as perfect and memorable as you are.

phd in yogurtry said...

To compete with blondie, you might have to wear only the wig and boa, baby.

Prefers Her Fantasy Life said...

Can they comment you on your new cool eyeglasses?

monica said...

you crack me up :o))) but you know, what is the MORE important than good looks, is ....... clean underwear.. LOL!!

Wendy said...

i think you need more cleavage for that. har har, get it? cleave---

ok, well, i'm done.

lime said...

rock on! though i do think the marge simpson blue beehive takes you out of honorary blonde statues, not just because the h air is blue but because marge has it going on.

your outfit is way better than the town drunk get up my first semester history prof sported.