Wednesday, March 9, 2011
I never tire of bragging about Club Ed. So this week I decided to do something different. I dug through our evaluations to let our students brag instead.
Every single student in every single class receives a simple Evaluation form. They are invited to answer two questions: 1) What did you like most? 2) What could we improve? (We also have them draw smiley - or frowny - faces for quick feedback.)
The responses are always interesting.
Some are concise:
“Great Class! Great Price! Great Teacher”
“I enjoyed the presentation - fast-paced, packed with information that was very useful.”
"FUN, FUN, FUN!!"
Some embarrass us:
"You have hit a home run with this catalog. I haven't heard of any program like this anywhere in the country!"
Many are grateful:
"Easy to understand for us technically challenged types."
Sometimes grateful beyond the normal classroom relationship:
"Great teacher - he's adorable!"
"Marsha, I'll follow you anywhere!"
One student wrote a three-page letter extolling the virtues of her instructor. That made us a little nervous.
Some are bald-faced lies:
“After taking dulcimer, my family is very encouraging and likes to listen to me practice.”
Many evaluations are uplifting:
"Grinning from ear to ear!!!"
"My husband agreed to take this class as a favor to me. He ended up enjoying it more than I and he ever expected."
"Great quality time together away from the kids!"
"If you can't learn to dance with this instructor, it's impossible!
Some we just don’t understand:
"This is where I wanted to be - learning the mouse as if I was 5 years old at St. Peters School."
Some are profound:
“Found my inner self from hypnosis techniques.”
Some are just weird:
“Experience time through geology! Feel young through geological time! I'll never look at a rock the same way again!"
We even had one from French theologian John Calvin:
“While all men seek after happiness, scarcely one in a hundred looks for it from God.”
Oh, it’s not all peaches and cream. We’ve had our share of negative reviews:
"Probably could be longer and with padded chairs!"
One lady sent me a handwritten letter complaining about finding a cigarette butt on the floor - she even taped the butt to her letter!
Some of these negative feedback courses hold the most interest to us. One bus tour was such a comedy of errors - late departure, missed connection, squeaky wheel bearings, extortionist driver - that half the group wrote full page letters complaining. What was fascinating were those who turned in smiley faces and said it was a great experience and the driver did “a super job!” You have to wonder if they were actually on the same bus.
My favorite complaint story was the recent Hill Country transplant who stormed out of a class within the first 20 minutes. She stood in our lobby and ran down the litany of how the instructor was ill-informed, confrontational, meandering, unprepared, and just rude. We of course refunded her money and thanked her - for we really do want to hear how to improve our courses.
The lady sat down and was still in our lobby an hour later. I politely informed her that she did not have to wait around - her money would be refunded automatically.
“Oh, no, it’s not that,” she replied. “I have to wait because my husband is in there and he loves this class.”
Another student signed up for three writing courses. The next day she called to excoriate the instructor, telling me the day was “a disappointment.” The first class was “a lie,” and that the materials were filled with grammatical errors and redundancies.
I humbly asked why, if she so detested the first class, she stayed and signed up for classes two and three. Her answer: “I just kept thinking it would get better.”
But even the rare negative ones hold a grain of fun:
“I have one complaint about your Spanish class... that I didn’t learn about it sooner!”
We love to hear every type of feedback. But we especially love this kind:
“This is my first class with Club Ed, but it won’t be my last.”
Summer is coming! If you offer an activity or camp for kids, put it in our Hill Country Kids catalog of great things to do. For information or to sign up for a class, email email@example.com, click www.clubed.net, or call 830-895-4386.