Insensitive feedback at NUS: Please be considerate of professors' feelings

I'm actually an assistant professor, and I've been with NUS over 3 years. This is my first university after I obtained my PhD, and so far things are good - especially the university's focus on research. Besides research, new faculty are expected to teach foundation courses. Honestly I'm not a very good lecturer; so are some of my newer colleagues, but we try our best. When I first arrived, I took students' feedback seriously. There was some improvement in my evaluation score over the new few semesters. However, in every course I teach, there is a significant minority of students who gave comments which are neither constructive nor civilized. I've learnt to ignore them, as my more senior colleagues have advised me.

However, I decided to post here because a breaking point has been reached. I knew a colleague who cried after reading students' comments about her - and some of them are very nasty and even xenophobic. "Can't understand your accent - pls go back to ****** (country); "Wear heels so you can look taller"; "For the sake of your health, lose some weight".

The majority of NUS students are actually genuinely nice and hospitable to faculty from abroad, but I hope those who made such comments can reflect. Is it right to attack a person instead of her teaching? Students have also called me "obese" in their comments before, and I've brushed them away. But do you know that these comments are read by people with feelings? We do feel hurt, even though we try our best to improve our teaching with students' feedback. I implore NUS students to consider their professors' feelings. Thank you.

This post first appeared on NUS Whispers (Confession #37057). You may wish to share your thoughts with the anonymous soul who poured his heart out.


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