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Responses to Feedback

Since feedback is anonymous I feel that I don't get a chance to respond to comments/criticisms that are made as "feedback."

While I appreciate your right to make such comments and criticisms anonymously, I would also appreciate the opportunity to respond. Actually, I try to respond to any comment with an address, but not all the addresses are "real," so I get my responses bounced back from the "postmaster." I feel frustrated with the inability to (a) defend my position (b) the effort I sometimes spend to explain myself in a reply being wasted.

SO, I am creating this page where I will post comments (in red)  and my responses (in blue).

On 2/4/03 I received the following from an anonymous student:

dr.gottfried u should explain the labs better

My response would have been:

Maybe. However both of the photosynthesis labs were described in the electronic chapter 8, and you were instructed to read that BEFORE we did the labs. If you had my explanations might have been sufficient.

On 1/9/2003 I received the following from an anonymous student:

Message: To be honest, I think that your class is boring, though I understand that  it is important. All you do is lecture us and we just take notes for over an   hour. It's hard to focus on biology and even though teachers have many different ways of teaching, I was wondering if you could try to "enlighten"   the class. I know that labs are suppose to help us understand, but it doesn't help all of us. It seems to me that your making things more   complicated then they are. (Of course people have different learning abilities).      I also have a suggestion. Do you think you could post up our grades on the internet? I know it would be a pain to update it, but it would benefit me  because that way I can keep track of my grades from home.

My response would have been:

I agree. The problem is that in the first marking period when we did all kinds of different things to enliven and enlighten the class, over 1/3 of you (students) didnít do the work associated with the activities and labs. As a result large number of students were failing. 

Labs require you to think for yourself. I am sorry you donít find that helpful, and in fact think it complicates things. Generally if you are forced to figure out something for yourself you actually learn it. You seem to be contradicting yourself. You donít want me to lecture - to tell you the answers; but you also donít find the labs helpful. I do not do book work which is generally just coping answers from the text. I assume my students can and will read and understand on their own and if they donít understand they can ask. 

Lastly, regarding the grades. For privacy reasons I will not post grades on the web. I have no ability to set up a password access system where you could only see your own grades, and I donít want to post all the grades so that given time and perseverance you could figure out who was which ID number and then know all their grades. If you want to know your grades feel free to email me.

On 9/9 I received from a non-existent address:

Y do we have to do biology I feel it isn't important! Those experiments are pretty boring too. yOUR NOT FUNNY!!!

My response would have been: 

I'm sorry you feel that way.

Whether I'm funny or not, you have to learn biology to graduate high school. If you like, you can just ignore my bad jokes. It won't affect your grade.
Biology is the science of life, and you are a living thing. If you aren't interested in that, well, I'm sorry for you.
As for the boring experiments. We are to some extent limited by the capabilities of students. You saw the horrible inaccuracies of height measurement. How could I give students something more critical to measure and do, when they can not even measure their own heights and the sizes of their heads?
Could I give you some hydrochloric acid and suggest that you measure its pH? I'd be terrified that you'd mis-measure and hurt yourselves.
If you would prefer, I suppose to go over measurement we could have given out meter sticks and had you measure your desks, rather than yourselves. You could have learned to focus a microscope by looking at letters cut out of the newspaper.
Should I make the suggestion to class that instead of non-standard labs and activities we do bookwork (to avoid my bad jokes) and those experiments which are designed by the authors of your textbook to always work. It would be much easier for me. Doing the set-up for all the labs and activities keeps me very busy. Setting up the lectures so that if you have read the book they aren't just repetition takes time. The publisher of the book provides me with worksheets and activity sheets that can cover the material. I find that boring. I find reading in class boring.
Since I don't know who you are ( while a unique name doesn't really mean anything to me), I'll stop here.

On 9/16 I received from a non-existent address:

Y do I have to have Language Arts I don't like MS.DEWHURST!!! DO something about it!!!!

My response would have been:

As you grow and mature you will learn to learn from anyone. I am sorry you don't like Ms Dewhurst. Lots of kids don't like me. Learning shouldn't depend on liking. That is an elementary school connection. Some of my best professors in college were not nice people, and I'd never talk to them outside of class, but I learnt a great deal from them.

Regardless of whether you like Ms Dewhurst or not, she works very hard to teach you, and you should at the least appreciate that.

On 9/30 I received from a non-existent address:

Dr.gottfried i thought that you said that You would not check note books, but you did, and I don't mind, but I tought that you said that the composition book was suppose to be our lab book. I thought that that was very unfear!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

My response would have been:

I said I would not grade your notebooks, and that you had to have them with you every day. I graded whether you had it, and it had lab notes in it as an A.
I did not require that all notes be in it, or that anything other than lab notes be in it. Since we were scheduled to do a lab (onion cell) you needed to have the book with you.
I don't see how I violated anything I said or was in any way unfair. In particular, since I gave no one a bad grade, but gave those who had their books with them (which everyone was supposed to do from day 1) an extra A.