Saturday, May 29, 2010


In response to my Facebook post about my recent teaching evaluations, my dear friend James McKenna shared these thoughts:

"After many years of teaching, however frustrating, for some odd reason (maybe for our own good) it's not the students who love you that seem to matter, but rather its the one that doesn't, that seems to matter most. And while over time you gain some pitiful abstract, intellectual understanding ... suggesting that it may well be their, and not your problem..somehow, it STILL really hurts. But you know, it's just a wonderful reflection of how seriously we all take our privileged try however unlikely to be perfectly and equally relevant and 'on point' to meet the intellectual and psychological needs of every, single student we teach. A true sign of eventual maturity for which I continue to aspire in this domain comes when you can still feel very proud, indeed, more than satisfied if not joyous for the overwhelming number of your students you have touched and who have touched you, and when you realize just how much you actually did for them which, as it turns out, is what all of your most treasured and wonderful professors did for you. It proves to be a kind of realization that is life sustaining, and life fulfilling."

Jim McKenna: anthropologist, teacher, role model

1 comment:

  1. Once I got an evaluation that said "Intimidating, There-is-such-a-thing-as-a-stupid-question-Dr. Hinde." I know who it was too. I had just finished explaining why the evolved post-reproductive life span of humans is not merely an artifact of modern diets, low pathogen loads, & health care, showing data from multiple populations w/o such things (Tsimane, Hadza, and historic archaeological data etc) and the demographic tables. The student then asked "How do we know that this isn't due to modern living?" I was so deer in headlights startled (as were the other students in the class based on their facial expressions) that I just stared at her and said "Wait, really, are you serious?" One of my finer teaching moments.