Student Diaries · Undergrad

Fall 2016 Grades & Teacher Evaluations

Out with the old, in with the new… year, that is.

Listen, 2016 was harsh, I get it.  From Donald Trump to Princess Leia, it was an absolute downer.  For the world.  For me? Not so much.  Don’t get me wrong, I balled like a baby when that oompa loompa won the presidency AND when Carrie Fisher “drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra”, honestly I did.  But look, I lost 50 lbs in 2016.  I traveled a lot in 2016.  I made many new friends in 2016. I accomplished so much and learned so much about myself and what I am capable of, in 2016.  Which brings me to the point of this post: my Fall grades and Spring enrollment. I absolutely crushed my brutal 15-unit (thats 5 classes) Fall semester!  As a result, I was invited to attend a graduate seminar in the Spring, which will replace one of my undergrad requirements! I’m equal parts elated and anxious, as usual.

First Things First, Fall Grades

  • ENG335- Readings in World Lit Grade: A-
  • ENG340- American Lit pre-1865 Grade: A
  • ENG341- American Lit post-1865 Grade: A
  • ENG347- Literature of Ethnicity and Gender Grade: A-
  • ENG467- Shakespeare Grade:A-

Semester GPA: 3.85

Now Let’s Talk Teachers…

ENG335- World Lit- Dr. Kaladjain.  Dr. K. is the English Department’s new hire.  He’s young (early thirties) and he’s very relaxed (alright, alright, alright).  We read about 6 novels in this class, and I only enjoyed a couple of them, but I enjoyed the class discussions on each book.  Dr. K’s teaching style is pretty much just an open-ended discourse on the text.  He follows his syllabus pretty well, and his attendance policy is pretty lax, although most of the midterm and final are based on topics discussed in class.  Perhaps it is because he is new to the school, or maybe it’s because he is fresh out of Grad School himself, but I found Dr. K’s grading to be on the strict side.  I fared well enough, but I was surprised to have received a B+ on my first essay assignment.

ENG340- American Lit pre 1865- Dr. Giannotti. This was not my first course with Dr. Giannotti. Actually, I enrolled in this course specifically because I was familiar with him and felt confident that I would do well in his class.  I was not wrong.  Plenty of students complain about this professor, and the enrollment in his courses is typically low (which means you can pretty much always add one of his classes if you’ve got a schedule gap or need an English class).  He talks a lot.  His class is pretty much a lecture class. Little-to-no notes are taken in class, as he just talks his way through whatever topic he is on (which is always about a week or so behind the schedule on the syllabus).  He also talks a lot about his cats, his house, and his favorite movies (goes off topic frequently).  BUT the man is absolutely brilliant.  He’s one of those people whose intelligence does not fit in their body… he always looks exhausted because his mind is too busy to sleep.  If you listen to his tangents you WILL learn something.  He grades very strictly, and is blunt with his comments in the margins but provides accurate and helpful feedback.  I’ll take as many of his courses as I can. Yes, it’s a bit of a challenge, but it’s worth it to have the best quality education.  I want a mind like his.

ENG341- American Lit post-1865- Dr. Hauss.  What can I say about Dr. Hauss?  Well, for starters, this was my second course with Dr. Hauss.  I enrolled in this class for two reasons: first, because I needed this course and second, because Hauss is hands down the easiest teacher I’ve ever had.  His attendance policy is practically nonexistent and his grading is so relaxed that I honestly do not know what I would have to turn in to get a poor grade.  Also, Hauss loves literature.  More so, than the average Lit. Professor, I would say.  You can tell when he reads aloud, that he is truly enjoying the words.

ENG347- Literature of Ethnicity and Gender- Dr. Hernandez. Uh, this is awkward.  It’s always hard for me to evaluate a professor like Dr. Hernandez, because as a person I really think I could like him but as a professor, he just didn’t fit the bill for me.  Dr. Hernandez has one of the most monotone voices you’ll ever hear.  He speaks calmly but stutters a lot and he is always reading off of his own notes as if he has prepared a speech for each class session.  We read four novels and two plays in this class, and while I enjoyed most of them, I had hoped to read a bit more feminist works for a course with “gender” in the title.  My favorite reading would have to be The Toughest Indian in the World, by Sherman Alexi, because it was a fnatastic, witty read and because short story collections like this are easy to read.  Dr. H grades pretty fairly, but his feedback is fairly generic so don’t expect much insight in the margins of your papers.

ENG467- Shakespeare- Dr. Best. Easily my favorite professor of the semester (and possibly ever).  Dr. Best is so passionate and enthusiastic that she tamed my initial Shakespeare Fear on the first day of the semester.  I could throw out a plethora of cliches right now, about her being the kind of teacher who makes you want to teach, or how she makes Shakespeare fun, but until you take her class you just won’t understand how special she is.  That said, damn does she expect a lot out of her students!  Plan to work your ass off in this class.  Follow the suggested timelines for your activity plans and group projects, because there are a lot of steps top each assignment and every little bit matters.  Her assignments are lengthy and time consuming but you will come out of this class with a pretty damn good understanding of Shakespeare’s plays.  Dr. Best invited me to join her graduate seminar in the Spring, on Medieval Myths and Monsters (eek!), which I am super excited about because it sounds awesome and because I am using it to replace the poetry course I’ve been dreading! Double win!




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