For some unfathomable reason, the best student evaluations I get are always from the course that during the entire semester bothered me the most. Whenever I feel that the course isn't going too well, that I'm failing, that the students are bored out of their heads, are lost, confused and uninterested, the evaluations turn out to be absolutely spectacular. I have no idea how this works. Is it because I worry so much about the course and keep changing things around to improve it?
Last year, there was this Intermediate Spanish class that I taught. We'd been given a really bad classroom with no technology, so I could neither show videos nor bring music to the classroom. Everything was done on an ancient transparency projector that kept breaking down. The classroom was so depressing that the students were permanently subdued, silent, and extremely hard to involve in group activities. The course material (the course concentrates on the subjunctive in all forms and tenses) was extremely difficult. Every day in class I felt like I was failing to do anything good or useful.
Then it turned out that the students loved the course and loved me. Several of them have declared Majors and Minors in Spanish after it. Almost every single person who took the course continued taking other classes with me. When I meet students from that class in the hallways, they light up and sometimes try to hug me and declare their love for me.
I have no explanation for this.