Feature

Published on March 24th, 2017 | by Marcelo Torres

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Rate my teachers: Samo edition

Whether they are aware of it or not, every teacher has a reputation around campus. But their reputations as teachers are no longer being spread by word-of-mouth alone. The website “RateMyTeachers” allows people to anonymously rate and post comments about their teachers. Profiles of teachers across the nation—including Samo—are available for anyone to see, at the simple click of a button.

While some teachers find it to be a useful tool for evaluation, others find the ratings on the site to portray teachers’ skills inaccurately or unfairly.

English teacher Maria Stevens thinks that it may not be necessary at the high school level, but that it can be beneficial for students to share their experiences with their teachers to others.

“It’s a place where kids express their feelings about the class,” Stevens said. “It’s a valuable way to review your teacher’s performance.”

“RateMyTeachers,” because of its anonymity, allows kids to to be as truthful as they want without any repercussions and can also allow the spread of falsehoods about teachers.

Some teachers at Samo do not appreciate being rated on the internet off of a five star scale. History teacher Amy Bisson feels the site deeply misrepresents teachers.

“It’s a really horrible website,” Bisson said. “It’s an unfair representation of teachers.”

She noted that the rants on the website are usually fueled by anger and hate. For example, a student who is unhappy with the grade they received for a certain class might leave a load of negative comments about the teacher on the site.

French teacher Raja Harding’s view on the matter is somewhat similar to Bisson’s.

“If a student really likes a teacher just because they gave them As, then they go put something nice,” Harding said. “And if it’s the other way around they do the same thing. They are free to say what they want to say but if they have something to say about someone they should have the courtesy to introduce themselves.”

There are other alternatives for researching a teacher, such as going on the school’s website and visiting the teacher’s web page. Scheduling a time to meet with the teacher is also something a lot of teachers are open to.

“I don’t think it’s a very effective way to find whether it’s a good teacher or bad teacher,” Harding said. “I think it’s talking to the teacher himself or herself to give you an idea.”

Math teacher Alicia Gonzalez also noted how such websites are not completely statistically accurate.

“Review sites such as ‘RateMyTeachers’ or Yelp are not necessarily representative of the whole population of reviewers or students, so anyone who is unaware of the site or unwilling to share their opinion is left out of the measurement,” Gonzalez said.

Since only people who really like or really dislike the teacher are inclined to write a review on them, these websites tend to be prone to voluntary bias. So even though the opinions may still be valid, it can still skew the data as a whole.
Even though the website is used to give incoming students a sense of what the teacher is like, the motives behind what the student posts are unknown, therefore making the account of the teacher biased. “RateMyTeachers” can be a helpful website as long as students use it for the purposes of educating others on the grading scale and giving tips about the class, not to praise or destroy a teacher’s reputation.

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