What follows are comments in anonymous teaching evaluations from the class. I share them because my students are the reason I enjoy teaching. I’m ecstatic that they got as much out of the course as did I.
What were the most valuable aspects of the class?
We are not restrained to express ourselves at all, which makes all of us comfortable to discuss our truest thoughts and let colorful ideas sparkle. We are guided and encouraged by the instructor to point straightly at the points we want to make, fulfilling the class with efficient discussions. The instructor usually conducts fun activities that are simulations or metaphors of sociological problems. Such activities assist us with direct experiences (though hypothetical), which make us feel involved in the racial matters and disparities. Through learning the history of fighting against racial discrimination, the covert and overt inequalities that still exist nowadays, court cases, and daily experience by watching videos and reading materials and books, we are spurred by the instructor to really make a difference from now on. We are encouraged to contribute ourselves to the fight against racial segregation and discrimination even by changing our behaviors in the most trivial matters in life. It’s absolutely awesome that we are inspired to use the awareness we gained through studying to make a difference to the society.
The class kept me interested. It gave me a completely new perspective on things that I had not considered much in the past. The work was challenging yet enjoyable. I always felt that my opinions in discussion were valued, which made me feel more comfortable to express them.
I found my exposure to the subject material and the integration of it into my daily life very interesting. I learned things I would probably wouldn’t have learned outside of this program. It challenged my belief racism as I knew it, and had me rethink the things I thought I already knew.
What were the instructor’s strengths?
LaToya is incredibly enthusiastic about sociology. She was very passionate about the topics that we discussed and she always made me feel confident to express my opinion during discussions. She made class a comfortable zone for everyone and she explained the topics in a way that made it easy to relate to even if I had no actual exposure to any of the situations.
I loved the way LaToya taught. She was a great listener and respected and acknowledged everyone’s comments and made the learning atmosphere so much brighter. She made everyone feel smart and special.
I witnessed many of LaToya’s strengths during these three weeks, but I think one of her greatest strengths was her strong dedication to sociology. From the very beginning of the course, I could already feel her contagious zeal for this subject, and it was such a passion that motivated and encouraged us to enjoy and appreciate sociology the same way as she does. LaToya’s tolerance and understanding attitude towards each and every student’s comments and opinions is also one of the most respectable strengths that I think she has. It really makes me feel at ease and even eager to contribute to the discussion – even shy or more introverted students were participating a lot as well.
I could tell that LaToya was very passionate in every discussion held in class. Everyday her passion would inspire me to question and think more about the topics discussed even outside of the classroom. Interjecting only when necessary, she allowed the discussion to flow smoothly between the students. She has mastered the timing of when to continue the discussion on one topic and when to switch to a different topic. She allows every student’s voice to be heard, encouraging, not pushing, every student to participate in class. She presents new ideas that causes one to think intensely, to doubt the answer, and then to have to think some more because the answer is not satisfying. She has done such a great job teaching this course!
Her greatest strength is her ability to make everything very clear. I was never confused when she spoke, and I never had trouble following the discussion. She also made it a very comfortable environment to express ideas. Coming into the course, I was worried that I would be too nervous to speak, but I found it harder to keep quiet. Her activities were also very enlightening.
Latoya’s strength was definitely how she talked. Not only was she was able to formulate really insightful questions, but she could help you understand certain issues very clearly. I liked how she made the class very student-oriented and that she allowed for students to discuss their point of views in relation to others, because it helped the class get to know each other a lot more. I could tell that she really loved teaching us and was very enthusiastic, which made the class a lot of fun even while we were learning so much.
What were the most important ideas or skills that you learned during the class?
Being comfortable with expressing my opinion in a judgement free zone. I was able to address race which many people are scared to talk about. I also learned about how I can make a difference in my community regarding racial discrimination.
I think I learned to not be afraid of contributing and voicing my opinions no matter how stupid I think it sounds. The relaxed and encouraging atmosphere of the class that LaToya somehow fostered really gave me the opportunity to think critically and speak out more. I also learnt to be much more independent from writing the racial autobiography as well as understanding the readings by myself. Teamwork, too, was a valuable skill that I acquired from working with my group for the panel presentations.
The most important lesson learned in the class was the fact that even one person making a change in how they interact with other people can have a positive impact in society.
Overall, I thought that this course has changed how I view the world drastically. Yes, I did have a hard time participating in some occasion because the topics would hit close to home but, becoming aware of all the flaws that our society has makes me notice them more critically. I can now work towards becoming more proficient in the way that I can recognize my feelings and work against the wrongs. I can never say thank you enough but, thank you LaToya.
Dr. Baldwin Clark was honestly one of the best instructors I have ever had. Her class had me wanting to come back everyday and learn more, and my interest didn’t stop just after each day either.
My only other comment on the class is that I would gladly take any class that Mrs. Baldwin Clark teaches. She is honestly one of the best teachers I have ever had. I think she will make a great professor one day.
Thank you to LaToya for a great, engaging, and thought-provoking class. I make sure that the plethora of information and insight I have gained these past weeks do not go to waste. 🙂