The Agony and the Ecstasy: Reading Your Student Evaluations

Credit: iStock.com/G Trade
Credit: iStock.com/G Trade

A junior colleague asked me whether teaching for many years made me thicker skinned. They wondered whether reading student evaluations gets easier with time.

I was reminded of an essay by Stephen Marche (2023) on writers and the reviews they receive. Marche recounts the author Philip Roth’s response to the question of time making one immune to criticism. Roth’s answer was contrary to expectations. His take? The more books you write, the thinner your skin gets. “It’ll get thinner and thinner until they can hold you up to the light and see through.”

That’s disturbing. And I don’t think it’s true for teaching.


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