Monday, November 20, 2006

Rate My Teacher Again

Have a look at this:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6139626.stm

If I had ever been rated on this site I am quite sure that I would have set a new record for the worst ever score. Mostly I taught my subject using the simple method I knew to work- ie explain something, then get the kids to do lots of examples. I tried to get them to work quietly and sit in neat rows where they were told to. (And I often failed miserably as you can see in my book)

Most education experts would wring their hands in horror at all this. I never attempted to make a martyr of myself by working endlessly, as I had lots of outside interests and I was never overly friendly with the pupils. I reckon the site would have given me a special award as 'Britain's Worst Teacher.'

What shocks me about this article is that she was actually bothered about her rating on a site designed for children's amusement. It seems that nowadays, popularity with the pupils is an important aim for many young teachers. I hope we're not just attracting the neurotic and those with no self confidence.

Previous post about this site here and here

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Unfortunatelt I think teaching might be attracting many who fit that description very well judging by my two new students!

Oubaas said...

When a teacher "couldn't teach me anything", a good place to start might be to open your ears and listen for a change.

And as for complaining that a teacher has poor classroom control, persuade your little turdball classmates to sit down and shut up.

I am not a teacher, but I find modern children en masse quite detestable, with their lack of manners.

Anonymous said...

There isn't any more to teaching than explaining followed by lots of practice. That's how everything is taught outside the classroom,(sports skills, driving etc.)

it's just no longer fashionable inside it, simply because we have allowed lots of useless 'Experts' and 'Advisors' to make a living telling us differently.

Tom Welsh said...

I thought it was one of the basic principles of any kind of leadership that you mustn't set out to curry favour with those you lead. If they come to like you, that's all well and good - but respect must come first.

Oh, but I forgot: nowadays teachers are no longer believed to be superior to their pupils in any way - just as children are not inferior to their parents, and criminals are not inferior to honest people.

lilyofthefield said...

I gave myself an excellent rating just to see if I could.

itsmyparty said...

I can understand why comments would upset her. She may feel competent but nobody likes to hear criticism however unjustified. It infinitely worse when you know it could be seen by millions.

I agree with oubaas - you have no chance of teaching a child that doesn't want to be taught. If they feel like they are not learning surely the correct action would be to speak to the teacher to see how the situstion could be addressed.

lilyofthefield said...

Yehbut these are arsy adolescents with an attitude and a perceived grievance we're dealing with here, not thinking, considerate, proactive young adults.
[Thinks: "Shall I discuss with my teacher the issues I have with her approach to discipline and the difficulties I am experiencing in engaging with the subject matter, or shall I go on ratemyteacher and call her a boring cow with bad breath.........."]

Anonymous said...

Perhaps we need a new website:

RateMyPupils.com

Fed said...

I think Chalky already did that one some posts back...

Anonymous said...

Well, there is a current discussion on the Archers messageboard about the dreaded Pip, a mouthy, rude, touchy 13-yo who regularly screams abuse at her parents. The very idea of mutual courtesy between parents and children and self-control practised by all family members has just been described by one poster as 'ultra-repressive parenting'. I know this will come as no surprise to anyone but it is a trifle depressing.

Dianne said...

"ultra-repressive parenting"

Second time i've heard that phrase this week and i raised an eyebrow the first time i heard it as well.

lilyofthefield said...

Hell's bells I must have been the Genghis Thatcher of parenting, what with not letting them use the f word in my hearing, eating a green thing at dinner that wasn't a wine gum and not allowing recreational screaming in the supermarket.

Still, tomorrow's shrinks have to make a living too.

Anonymous said...

Granted, online sites are often filled with useless rants, but there is a real problem in schools today. There are excellent teachers, and terrible teachers, and many school districts do not seem to make any distinction between the two groups. I'm sorry to say that some teachers cannot teach. A teacher is not just someone who regurgitates information out of a textbook and gives homework and structured learning. A teacher should be an extra aid to self-learning, not someone who wastes the students' classroom time by explaining concepts in confusing ways. I do not think a teacher's "fun factor" or "class easiness" is a relevant factor, but clarity is vital, and the lack of it is a real problem I have seen from some of my own teachers.

Anonymous said...

I am a young teacher who just qualified last year and i believe that having a good relationship with your pupils is essential to succesful classroom management and teaching. I'm not saying that as a teacher you need to bend over backwards to make the pupils like you but i think that anyone that takes on the attitude that "itsmyparty" posted quote: "You cannot teach a child that doesn't want to be taught" is pathetic and if there are still teachers like this today in our educational establishments they are the ones that need to think again on their chosen careers.

Anonymous said...

Like they say "those who can teach" the ones who cant go on web chats like these to criticise teachers. How many of you critics have actually taught before?

Anonymous said...

These "rating sites" are worse than useless. Anonymous comments about one of the most underpaid professions in the world is very dangerous for the future of education quality for children. SOME people think its ok because lets face it, eveyone has some sort of gripe with some teacher. So why take the opportunity eh? ..maybe they "deserve" it because "they cant control" or some other "defect".
HERE IS THE SOLUTION!. Let every teacher take heed! ..Log on about 500 times and rate every teacher you know as highly as the site allows.
Basically flame the site.
The authors are only there for the money that they make out of advertising which you will note is aimed at....... yes you guessed....CHILDREN!

Anonymous said...

First of all, in order to truly comment on students, one must have taught at least 3 years and at different levels. I have never met a middle school student that I could not teach. Now, a 17 year old freshman with a rap sheet including armed robbery and assault..is another story. So, yeh, I finally gave in after 6 years and said, "you can lead a horse to water, but not make them drink." I have a Masters in Special Education and 4 teaching licenses. We are in a severe state of crisis in our educational system when criminals are allowed to rule the schools and teachers are getting fired for lack of performance (see Charlotte Mecklengurg Schools news) Can I say, career change? Or, fight the political system that enables mediocrity and blames educators? Please do your research before commenting. Its called Leandro Vs North Carolina. Winner is not the children nor teachers. When will we get it right?

Lorna said...

I think that should be 'Charlotte Mecklenburg' not 'Mecklengurg'

What are your views on 'Leandro Vs North Carolina'?

Anonymous said...

Surely the problem is not the actual comments that the students make but the fact they have the opportunity to do so in the first place. Which other professionals are exposed to the 'firing line' in this way?
Why should students be given the opportunity to sulk and rant on these websites? Teachers are never going to be liked by every one of their students-that is not their role nor should it be. On the contrary, it's the role of the teacher to be fair, consistent and respectful. Surely students ought to be encouraged to do the same.

Anonymous said...

you bunch of whiners! do some work

Anonymous said...

Well, the thing to do is to go ratemyteachers.com and post lots of bogus ratings. If a teacher has good ratings, give him bad ones. If a teacher has bad ratings, give him good ones.

If just a couple of hundred teachers started doing this a couple of times a week, everyone would be average soon.

The site would be even more useless then than it is now.

Anonymous said...

After teaching l4 years, I almost regret going into education. The lack of respect by students, ineffective administration and useless meetings have exhausted me. I had a principal that was 31, with two years teaching experience, a total mess. She wanted to be a buddy to the student, so sending a disruptive student to her was a joke. Each year she targeted one teacher to try and humiliate. She needed more teaching experience and people skills before being put into a supervisory position. The head principal was on his second divorce, had several DWI's and a driving restriction. He got drunk at the employee recognition dinner and made a total fool of himself. His punishment was lO days off, paid of course. A teacher would have been fired.

Anonymous said...

teachers have a hard time ' everyone wants to rate us '
we are treated like a underclass

Anonymous said...

you're all whinging idiots
i am a student myself, and although not a promising academic one i still enjoy my time at school. My school has a different atmosphere from most i must admit, for a start the teachers are actually friendly human beings. How do you teach best? By that i mean carry across a message best, by having a connection to those who you're teaching. This gives the things that you say weighting. No-one listens and tries to learn from someone they dont like who they dont connect with. Now i'm not saying try and be best buddies with all the kids but if you make yourself accessible then they feel compelled to listen. Most of my teachers do not have to demand respect, they do not have to shout and yell and scream and dish out punnishments till their pupils behave and the ones who do are those who produce the worst grades. Take, for instance, my electrical engineering teacher Mr. Bradstreet. He has never had to shout at a studen in my class for ebing dissrespectfull or for not listening and we all respect him IMMENSLY. He seems to have all the answers, he knows almost everything about what he teaches and so much more aswell. You can bitch about a site where kids want to truely communicate their feelings about a teacher without getting into trouble for it, and yes there will be a few kids who abuse that, but the majority of kids do take it seriously. There is a certain teacher at my school who is under no circumstances fit to teach and she does a TERRIBLE job of it. Not only students but also parents of students who are taught by this teacher have freequently discussed an attempt to have her fired for missconduct. However we loose the ability to tell teacher how to improve if you do nothing but condemn sites like ratemyteacher.com, perhaps the majority of you just do not wish to recognise the truth

Anonymous said...

I am a teacher.

I have just visited the awful site rate my teacher.

There are some very negative about some of my colleagues.

I had kind of worked out who would get the "good" comments and vice versa.

I'm sure there is something of a personality contest going on in lots of schools.

It scares me how you can hide a lot of your own personality away behind a screen and a keyboard.

There is such a thing as narcissism.

How about a "rate my pupil" website.

Then the truth will come out about the state society is really in.

As if we don't know already!!

Yours Scottish Annonymous

Anonymous said...

In my school, many teachers go on and post negative evaluations about other teachers.

I think there are more teachers posting than students!!!!

Also, I think lots of teachers are doing what is suggesting...find the teachers with the lowest ratings and giving them high ones, and vice versa.

Teachers are having a great deal of fun with this site.

We do have better things to do, of course, but this site more or less invites sabotage!

I am not in "ratemystudents.com" mode; I do that WAY too often....progress reports, grades, parent conferences, student conferences, etc., but it would be fun just to give a kid a rating and not have to back it up.

As in "This kid is is just a pain in the neck."

Unfortunately, that is not professional. It would be SO MUCH FUN, though.

Crisco said...

Parts of this blog are truly mind-numbing. I've been to ratemyteacher.com and, for the most part, the ratings are accurate (even when it’s a low mark for a friend).

On another note, if you work with people who are so petty as to go and sabotage your scores, it seems to me that your students may be more mature than your peers. Furthermore, if you are so petty as to go and sabotage the entire system, that makes a profound statement about your own insecurities. If you’re so indignant about the injustice of students actually evaluating you for a change, then don’t go on the site. I see ratemyteacher.com as a powerful tool for introspection, which is a trait I do find valuable in teachers. Now, if you prefer getting students to “work quietly in neat rows like they were told to” despite the clear ineffectiveness of this method, then you are a teacher who clearly has no need for ratemyteacher.com, would probably not score well on it, AND would be hard-pressed to do anything with in besides start a litany of hackneyed complaints reminiscent of the worst faculty meetings and frustrating lunchroom conversations.

In case my opinion needs to be authenticated, this comes from a woman who has taught four grade levels in middle and high school. And, yes, I could teacher a 17 year old freshman with a rap sheet.

hope said...

I am in my eleventh year of teaching, have three children of my own, and live from paycheck to paycheck. I have a graduate degree, numerous endorsements as well, and am employed at a Title I school which is also a magnet school for TAG students. So, in my classroom, I have a gamut of student from the 99% to the 1% with the behaviors to go along with the performance. I preface my message with this information to qualify what I'm about to say. Do you remember college preparation and the stories of the unfortunate or misbehaving students we would hear about? Our hearts would pour out to them, and we'd vow to go the extra mile, say the extra words, and show the kindness to make the difference. Well, now you're here in the real world, and there are more of these stories, real stories, than for which you could have ever bargained. It is true that we are tired, underpaid, and rarely appreciated enough to compensate the things we do; however, we knew from the beginning we weren't doing these things for anyone but kids. Kids will take advantage, and kids will mess up. That's why adults teach... we know this, and we are mature and unselfish enough to put that in perspective, give them a clean slate, and begin again. It's not about popularity, it's about humanity. Teaching is not easy, and at times I have considered pursuing another profession. Yet, I make this solemn promise: you may not know for a long time, perhaps never, the impact your actions have had even if they seem to be making none at the time. Faces I barely recognize have come to me and shared words I don't remember saying and actions I don't remember doing, but they made all the difference in the long run. If you find sites such as RateMyTeacher discouraging, stay off of them. Every teacher in the world has angered someone at one time or another. Stick to your convictions because you will never regret doing the right thing.

Anonymous said...

well i am a student and last year in my class the teacher had complete control and let a short amount of time to teac. now thanks to her i cant fucking get into the goddamn ib program for my fucking 9th grade and she fucking skrewed me over by being a shitty teache

Anonymous said...

wow this site is bad. Mrs hollinger is the worst teacher ever. I tried to turn in l8 work and she said that she didn't know what 2 do. I was like wtf amte!

Anonymous said...

bored teacher says:
you have parents who drink, take drugs do many immoral acts and expect their kids to be little angels. It doesnt work like that, any fool could see this. To this you add violence on TV, the internet, computer games, etc. You then add a touch of underfunding, large class sizes, a national curriculum that changes by the minute, is it any wonder that education is in the mess it currently is.
kids are reflecions of their home lives and the environment they live in. if they behave badly its because we are doing the same. the downward spiral cant be stopped and i am thinking early retirement.

a member of the "ignore the shift button society"

ps please god, i don't want to be teacher in the after life.

ravokhavok said...

My only comment is that students can write what they please. If they feel like their teacher did a poor job, let them say it. They have the opportunity to write positive remarks as well and choose not to. What does that say about the schools? It's their eduction, why shouldn't they have a say in it? Most districts don't even ask the students what they like or dislike and I think the kids just want a place to voice their opinions.

Anonymous said...

I agree ravokhavok. The kids should be involved in their education, and those sites provide an opprotunity to do so.

Anonymous said...

first to " I have never met a middle school student that I could not teach. Now, a 17 year old freshman with a rap sheet including armed robbery and assault..is another story." - try teaching a classroom of 11 year old 6th graders with a similar "rap sheet" (though change that assault to sexual assault with a few). It is tough. It is stressful and on some days down right scary

The way I see it, if you do not "bop, "beep," and create a "cosmic light show," very little keeps the attention of today's youth. The skill of being able to sit for more than five minutes and actually LISTEN seems to be lost with students now(and I am not that far out of my youth). You can blame it on a lot of things (parenting, tv, video games, computers), but the fact is that today's culture for our youth is vastly different than it was 10 years ago, and it does have a HUGE impact on how or even what we teach. It also creates a lot of stress in the classroom, on top of government laws, large class sizes and behavioral issues that are not taken as seriously (by both parents and administration) as they once were, like right after columbine.
I also must agree with someone a couple of posts ago - lack of manners. In addition, there is a lack of responsibility and an abundance of apathy in much of our youth and parents today. When are the PARENTS going to be held accountable for their child's success. There is only so much an educator can do. When did it become okay for a student disrupt the education of others and their parent say the student has done nothing wrong.
When has it become acceptable to show disrespect to an adult by a child and it become normal and accpeted by society at large. My students learned ten new vocabulary words today. One is "LIBEL." I suggest that these "rating" sites learn the word fairly quickly. Soon, many superb teachers who hold all their students to high expectations and standards will take action against these sites that allow annoyed children (because their teacher refuses to allow them to disrupt the education of others) to defame professional reputations.

Many people want to "fix" education. Well, the best bet is to first start at home.
I almost never rant, but today I felt the need to.

Anonymous said...

i hate all teachers

Maryland Mrs. said...

I completely agree with so many of your comments. I, too, am a teacher and have taught for over 12years now. I also must agree that the "Rate My Teacher" site is bogus, insulting and quite honestly, a place that can serve as a dangerous outlet for an angry and disgruntled student to cowardly berate the very teachers who stay up until all hours of the night - sometimes to the detriment of our own family lives - grading student papers (and, yes, actually reading what we grade and not simply assigning a grade -- as many of us very well could) while providing helpful feedback acknowledging areas of strengths, as well as areas that need improvement). I'd also like to mention that as teachers who care about the welfare of our students, our job to encourage and guide them towards becoming productive citizens who will be able to think critically and function in our ever-changing global society; our job is NOT to be LIKED by them. While I do agree that rapport is extremely important in reaching students, I also know that many teachers and students are intelligent enough to realize that many young people are still VERY immature AND vindictive and have not yet come to the cognitive place where they can actually SEE and APPRECIATE all of the hard work and effort their teachers (yes, even those of us who have high expectations for student behavior and productivity, who take VERY little "crap" from rude and disrespectful students seeking to disrupt the learning environment and bully their peers, and who "run a tight ship" and still work diligently at walking that fine line between maintaining good classroom management while simultaneously maintaining a positive classroom atmosphere. THE BOTTOM LINE IS: As teachers who work SO HARD to help our students experience success, we do ALL that we can to create relevant, challenging, and creative lessons -- as well as to help our students experience success through cooperative learning, allowing them opportunities to tap into their various learning styles and multiple intelligences, and holding them accountable for their actions or the lack thereof. When I first heard about this site, I thought to myself, "HOW HORRIBLY IRRESPONSIBLE!" -- And I assure you, it had NOTHING in the world to do with my "insecurity" as a teacher; I KNOW I am a tremendous teacher with the capabilities to bring out the best -- even in the so-called "knuckle-heads" who other teachers may find a challenge and even threatening. I am a stern teacher (and I don't apologize for it). I can also be fun and flexible -- laughing and joking with my students when appropriate. I, as I know MANY of you do, actually TEACH my students and they LEARN(not only through my modeling for them, but through their teaching of each other), and no matter how big a "jerk" a kid may have acted the day before, on the very next day, I begin with a clean slate and try to re-connect with the student one-on-one, reflecting with him/her on what went wrong and how we can have better results in the future. The fact that a kid who I may have "pissed off" for holding him/her to a higher standard can simply go anonymously to a website and openly criticize me and my teaching style - despite the fact that they have not yet realized that they are actually GROWING academically and socially because of those expectations that "piss them off" - is ABSOLUTELY LUDACRIS and is a slap in the face to all teachers who love our students and who work our tails off non-stop for them. "Rate My Teacher" can "Kiss My Bottom" as far as I'm concerned; it is not helping students to become proficient in properly and maturely confronting issues that concern them, nor is it encouraging them to be upstanding young people who should recognize the respect due to their teachers (yes, even the "mean ones" who give what I call "tough love" and then bolster the child - assuring him/her that he/she can go the distance). "Rate My Teacher" is a disgrace and I urge you all NOT to take it to heart. The students who love us definitely let us know, and even if we're not always openly appreciated, WE know when we've played a significant role in a student's growth and development. As long as we're doing our job, those students who do not "love" our teaching styles (or even our personalities) - while entitled to their personal opinions - should certainly not be encouraged to vindictively "air" their complaints (whether valid or distorted) on a public site that in a few sentences can portray teachers (who have an excellent track record of fostering students who PRODUCE and are COMPETENT) as being less than what we are: true teachers. Our teaching style(s) or personalities may not necessarily be appreciated or understood by a child having a diametrically opposite make-up, but that does NOT change the fact that SO MANY OF US have a heart for young people and stick by them (even during their "nastiest" phases) in an effort to help them learn, grow and succeed - despite how "stinky" some of their behaviors, attitudes and personalities can sometimes be. Yes, I have a lot to say -- and I could say MUCH MORE -- but I want to leave you pondering a quetsion: If a site like "Rate My Teacher" is accepted as a credible "tool" for measuring the true quality of a teacher, what type of messages are being sent to our youth, parents, and to our society about our worth as professionals? And into what type of society have we devolved?