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10/12/2021

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Tim

I am doubtful its a good ideas to draw attention to the scores. But if you are going to draw attention to the scores, I might try to show how the high scores compliment the low scores. For instance, suppose a question like 'the readings are too hard' is not good, but a question like 'the teacher can tell when I don't understand' is good. You could justify the scores by saying something like, 'As my evals indicate, I assign readings that are challenging that many students struggle with. But I also am there to assist them through the readings, identifying the places where they struggle.'

Here is an alternative strategy I have seen recently. Instead of scanning all of the particular evaluations, one produces a much shorter document summarizing them. In that document, you might identify a few issues you routinely do well on. You can just reproduce those for several classes, and omit the rest. Then add a note saying that the full evaluations are available upon request.

It's not that bad.

I'm surprised no one has said this but, your numbers are not very bad. If you were clocking in around 2.5-3, that would be something that would jump out and that you *might* want to preemptively address.

But 3.5-4 is, as you say, just below the average for your school. I would neither mention it in a cover letter nor fret about it as you subit your applications.

Prof L

If you can argue that there is an upward trajectory in your scores, this is a good thing to do.

I would refer to those scores as “solid” with room for improvement and then indicate any plans you have for improving your teaching. Point to strengths in the comments. Summarize constructive (negative) feedback from students and say how you plan to address it.

Maybe there are people out there who got 4.8s their first semester teaching, but those people are the exception. Most excellent teachers I know are people who like their students and are thoughtful about improving their teaching. This takes time, experience, and humility.

No one reading an application will be sympathetic to the argument that you will have more time to work on your teaching when you are not a graduate student … but no one expects perfection out of the gate. I don’t think those scores are disqualifying—of course stronger scores are better, but I think scores below three are really the ones that make you think something is off or this is going to be a serious problem.

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