After the quarter ends, it’s typical for a couple of students to e-mail me with feedback about the class. It’s also common for that feedback to be positive, since if they are going to trash me they usually prefer the anonymity of the course evaluations. And it’s nice to get the positive comments, since during the quarter a lot of the student e-mail I get is either questions about the homework or complaints about some aspect of the class.
But I have to say that there is one kind of praise I like getting more than others, and that’s positive comments from students I failed. When students who did well write I sometimes wonder if they’re happy about me because they did well rather than because I did a good job. But that is not the case for the student who wrote this:
Your class was a pre-req for my graduate classes, so I already have a bachelors degree and I can honestly say that I can’t recall or more perfectly structured and executed class.
As he indicates he was a graduate student taking my Java class, so he needed a B- or better. He didn’t get it, and this was his second try. And we had our share of contentious e-mails during the quarter because his life was overloaded between too many classes and a fulltime job. He wasn’t always happy with my enforcement of deadlines. It means a lot to me that he appreciated the way the class was taught even though he wasn’t successful.