I'm teaching a lot of students who are fairly unresponsive in a large class that is set early in the morning. While I'm working on ways to encourage them to respond to questions, I find that normal indicators of how one is doing are absent: they don't laugh at jokes, groan, interrupt, or give much indication at all of how they are finding the content. If I ask if people understand or have questions, I will get no responses. While I find this somewhat discouraging, a more pressing issue is that I find it hard to work out if they are actually understanding what I'm saying (or perhaps they understand, but disagree). Possibly they are bored, or tired (as it is early). Presumably I'll get feedback at the end of the course, but I'd rather fix any issues now rather than later.
When trying to evaluate myself I think I might rush sentences, and use too many crutch words, but I don't know if this is an issue for students. If it is, they are highly unlikely to say as much, to my face at least! It is even hard to gauge their prior knowledge and what sort of level of terminology I can assume will be understood. For throwaway comments I can give synonyms or quick explanations, but doing this constantly will slow things down a lot and will be tiresome for those who already understand these terms. I don't want to send out a question which essentially amounts to "do I suck?"