If you are about to take a new class, then it's only reasonable for you to be curious about your new teacher, and whether they are good or not. Of course, everyone wants to take a class with an easy-going teacher, who is interesting, kind, and fair.
This is where rate my teacher website comes in. The site was designed for students to rate their current or previous teachers, as a bid to help those who were yet to take the class.
Before the invention of the internet, students would ask each other how a particular class was, and they would especially look for those who had already gone before them to understand if the class was worthy of their consideration.
Now, many different platforms allow you not only to find out how a potential class will be, but they also give insight into your new teacher, how they teach, and how they conduct themselves.
In this review, I shall be reviewing the Rate My Teacher website, how it works and how it can help you.
How does Rate My Teacher work?
Rate my Teacher or RMT requests students to answer a single question “what do I need to do, to maximize my chances at success in a given class?” This is because each teacher and class are different, and it helps to know what to expect to best prepare for the class.
As one of the most popular websites for teacher ratings, RMT provides reviews for secondary and elementary teachers in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland.
If you are a student looking for a teacher who has been rated on RMT, what you need to do is simply visit the site, and search for your teacher or school from the list provided on the website. There is a very long list for you to choose from.
Once you find the teacher you are looking for, you can then proceed to read the reviews that have been written about him/her on the website.
I will explain the rating procedure later, in case you wish to also leave a review for one of your teachers, but it is quite a simple process. There is a simple 1-5 points system, and the categories include helpfulness, easiness, clarity, and knowledge.
The logic behind this website is that any student that has taken a class taught by a specific teacher will know exactly how great that teacher's personality and knowledge affected their grade. Therefore, by researching on such sites, you set yourself up for success in the specific class, and the chances of getting a good grade in the class are higher.
How to interpret the old ratings?
When you visit a teacher’s page, you will see one of two results; a new review or an old review.
If a new survey or review has been submitted for the teacher, this will appear first, otherwise, old ratings will be shown on the page.
While I always think that new ratings are much more useful, the website decided that until a new review has been posted, the teacher's old rating will continue to appear, because some feedback is better than no feedback at all.
One of the most common questions usually is; “How can I interpret these old ratings?”
Now, the old ratings usually are based on a star system, and like most star ratings, the higher the number of stars indicated on the teacher's review, the more favorable the response. This means that a good teacher has more stars.
E.g., if under “clarity,” the teacher has a 5-star rating, this indicates he is unequivocal in his explanations, and you are most likely to understand what he teaches. If the score is a 1-star, then, you can tell that the teacher is probably unclear, and an obscure teacher means there is a possibility you will fail their class.
When can you see new ratings?
You will mostly find new ratings on the site when the school year is coming to an end. This is because most students have just completed a specific class, and they are dying to review their teachers and give tell the new students what to expect.
It is possible to find lots of negative reviews at this point, especially if they failed the class, and therefore, you shouldn't always take the first review you see. Take time to read as many as you can, to have a good idea of the kind of teacher he/she is.
Also, be careful not to accept the reviews at face value, because everyone has their own opinion of a specific teacher, and it may not always be right. If there are preview classes, attend them to gauge the teacher by your standards.
The website also has some site guidelines to be followed when posting these reviews, which are used to regulate the type of review a teacher receives.
What to do
Be honest and objective in your assessment of a teacher/professor.
Limit your answers to an individual's professional abilities.
Proof any written answer before submitting. Poor spelling will not cause your answer to be removed. However, poor spelling may result in your rating being discredited by those who read it.
Leave off your name, initials, pseudonym, or any sort of identifying mark when answering.
Remember that constructive criticism is useful, but personal criticism is not. Constructive criticism helps an individual see where they can improve (e.g., “instead of doing (a), I would have gotten more from the material if we had done (b)”).
Remember that a helpful answer is one which would have been of value to you before you started the class.
Use “definitive” language, (e.g. “always”,”never”,”etc.”).
Include any piece of information that may identify you or other students.
Include any piece of identifiable information for a teacher/professor that would allow someone to contact the person outside of his/her school. This also includes remarks about the person's family and personal life.
State your opinion as fact.
Take a survey if you have not taken a class with the teacher/ professor.
Input false course or section codes.
Rate a person more than once for the same class.
Reference existing answers.
Rate yourself or other teachers/professors, if you are a teacher/ professor.
Speak on behalf of other people.
The Site reserves the right to remove any answers deemed inappropriate, libelous, defamatory, indecent, vulgar or obscene, pornographic, sexually explicit or sexually suggestive, racially, culturally, or ethnically offensive, harmful, harassing, intimidating, threatening, hateful, objectionable, discriminatory, or abusive, or which may or may not appear to impersonate anyone else or that otherwise violate the Terms and Conditions.
Answers containing the following will not be published
Profanity, name-calling, and vulgarity, derogatory remarks about religion, ethnicity or race, physical appearance, mental and/or physical disabilities;
References to a teacher’s/professor's sex life, including sexual innuendos;
Claims that a teacher/professor shows bias for or against a student or specific group of students;
Claims about a teacher/professor's employment status, including previous employment;
Claims that a teacher/professor engages or has engaged in illegal activities;
Accusations that the teacher/professor is rating him/herself or his/ her colleagues; or
A language other than English. Comments must be written in English only. French is allowed if you attend a French-Canadian school.
How to ensure that your comment gets posted
If you want to ensure that a review is displayed on RMT, you must first follow the guidelines, and other than that, you should adhere to the following;
Do not make the review personal to the teacher
This means that if you loved or loathed the specific teacher, your feelings would not be useful to the next student, and therefore, you should keep those to yourself.
The website may allow something nice to slip by in the context, but a negative personal comment will not be permitted. You must remember that the internet is forever, and a genuine personal conflict with a teacher will negatively impact his life forever.
Provide something actionable
It is essential when giving a review to provide something for the students to plan for. This is whether or not you have something positive or negative to say. Give them ideas on how to prepare for the class, what they may need to buy, or the books they should read.
You should ensure to do this in a constructive way such that it should be about the process and not the teacher.
Remember that you can say what you want since the website will never post your name, just your comment but they will need you to have an account with them. This means that you shall be anonymous to those who read your posts, but the website will know who you are.
Here is an example of a helpful comment
Mr. John is the best! He truly loves what he does and makes it fun. He's accommodating and funny, so it's always interesting. He relies a lot on mnemonic devices, so it's easy to remember important things. He's also great at explaining things. I highly recommend the textbook reading, but even if you don't understand it all immediately, he's great with clarification and lecturing!
You can also rate your experience as “excellent” when posting your review. This is great when letting others understand how good the teacher is.
Here is another example of a useful review
This was my first AP class, so I wish I had been more prepared for how much the class was about cause/effect and application rather than memorization. After taking four years' worth of AP classes, I can now say the workload is that of your typical AP class, but at the time it was hard to adapt, so I'd say be prepared and don't procrastinate!
This is the kind of comment that will ultimately make the reviews better. Nothing personal at all, tells the reader about what to expect and provides a word of awareness of how to approach the class. Genuinely helpful to the next student. Result: comment posted.
A lousy comment would look like this
Mrs. Jones is one of the worst teachers ever. She would never help you, and if you ask for help, she would say “IM NOT HELPING YOU, LOOK AT YOUR NOTES” and yet sometimes people don't find notes helpful. She also has frequent mood swings at people that do something wrong or forget to do something. She doesn't give anyone a chance. As hard as school is, she makes it harder with being so rude and not a dedicated teacher, and it makes school so much worse!
My thoughts: Maybe the student learns differently than the teacher teaches, or maybe it was something else, but the student's frustration is evident. This is the kind of comment where we would see complaints from both sides. Result: not posted.
In this case of Mrs. Jones, the student could have given the teacher a “poor” rating for their overall experience, instead of writing the negative review.
Taking an elementary or high school class with a teacher that you have never heard of, or never met before can be quite daunting. As such, having a website that reviews the teacher and gives insight into what to expect is a great idea.
Your grade at the end of the year is what matters the most, and ensuring that you have all the right information before starting a class is the man idea behind the RMT website.
You should take the reviews seriously, but also give the teachers the benefit of the doubt because not everyone will provide them with a fair evaluation.
I would also advise you to do further research on the classes and the teachers other than the reviews, to have more information that will help you ace the class and get a good grade.