My Student Is My Customer
Recently, I received a surprising malicious review from one of my students, who I guided from the beginning of the semester. Usually, when the size of my class is small, I individualize my attention to each of my students. In this particular 100% online class, the number was only four students. So, I thought to stir the pot a bit and attempt to change the dynamic of the online non-live-interaction into what I am famous for: participatory and engaging class. I felt the resistance from the beginning. Two of my students were clearly challenged and voiced out their concerns of me changing the status quo. During class and through our e-mail exchanges, they were courteous and respectful. I know they worked hard during the semester, so their grades were rewarded accordingly.
Not all of the four students participated in the review process. Only the two that objected to my attempt to add additional value to them left their review in writing. The other two were grateful and one of them asked if I could teach them another class during the same program, but they didn’t write a review, so the pool of responses skewed toward one sided review. Upon reading the review, (although the work we did during class was beyond exceptional and exceeded the standard required) I felt that I failed this student. The one review I received was malicious in nature. It wasn’t constructive and definitely not balanced. So, I thought if this student is able (it is his right to express his experience) to do this to his kind teacher, I could just imagine how he is going to treat his own customers and future staff. I felt that I failed him to become a better student while providing a constructive review and feedback. Since he left his name attached to the review, I reached out to him.
I treated him like a customer with the concept “the customer is always right”. I didn’t care about his personal attack and misguided one sided review. I wanted to make it about him and how he can learn from my behavior that to leave a review, be constructive. At least that was my last attempt to reach to him through an email that to me, he mattered. My students and their opinions and experiences mattered. So, I sent him the following reply:
“Hey there, name of student.
I just read the review. Thank you for putting your name, so I can reach out. With reviews like yours, I improve. Sorry for disappointing you — as in the first month, I wanted to engage all of you as I do in my physical and hybrid classes. The 100% online format was new to me, I am learning along the way. Glad your class effort led you to an excellent grade.
Be safe and well.”
Here you have it dear readers, What do you think? Should I have ignored him and not acknowledge his review? How would you manage unfair reviews? I treated my student like a customer, and told him he was right?
Am I right or am I wrong? 🙂