Grading teachers

Chitra Vairavan’s Nov. 26 letter “ESL teaching assistants confuse some students” is, for the most part, right on the money. I have had similar experiences with incomprehensible teaching assistants, and it is a serious issue.

The solution Vairavan suggests – more thorough English proficiency tests – is a bit narrow. There is another way: The University should require all departments to decide (and finalize) who will be teaching what in time for that information to be printed on the class schedule.

This should apply to professors as well as teaching assistants. Furthermore, teacher evaluations for all instructors and assistants should be made available in a searchable online database.

Currently, only some departments do this, but others do not assign instructors until the last minute. This practice must end. Logistical inconvenience on the part of a few departments is not an excuse for lack of student choice and reduced quality of education.

This system could have a profound positive effect on teacher quality at the University, and it would reach beyond just addressing language problems. I envision a day when teacher assignments will be performance-based and poor teachers will have to find some other way of paying for graduate school.

I have already contacted the University Senate to suggest that such a program be implemented, but they seem to have ignored me. Perhaps if students speak out in greater numbers for this reform, we can effect change.

Andrew Buttler, sophomore, biology