I did the best I could

A recent management tip of the day from Harvard Business Review on measuring one’s worth of their work reminded me of my own metrics. The management tip points out that some people have jobs that are easily quantifiable: sales people who measure their sales or production managers who measure their inventory. My job as a professor is measurable through the university wide teacher evaluation process, or of course the all too familiar “Rate Your Professor.”

But what metrics do I use to say at the end of the day, “I did good” or “I didn’t do good”.

I want an innovative metric that tells me something about what the student has gained from their participation in my semester class. Their grade? No, not really enough. That’s because not all skills and gains are so easily quantifiable. For example, if a student has gained the information necessary to start a business, and that was the purpose of the course, then I succeeded. But what if the student gained an appreciation for the demands of an entrepreneur, and in fact has decided to pursue a business idea, is this part of the metric I should use to evaluate myself as a professor?

And what if a student says I have learned more about myself in this class, then can I say I did good? No, because I didn’t do that work, the student did.

So what metric do I use to determine my success? The same metric the student could use: “Did I do the best I could?”

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