Thursday, April 19, 2007

Rate My Professor

I love reading the postings that students leave on They are so strange and funny. I was just looking at my ratings, which I do every once in a while, and noticed that a number of them are "under review," and I have no idea what that means. The latest entry "under review" was from one of my 215 students who said something about me being "obnoxious and rude" and something to the effect that it was a shame the way I talked to my students. I copied the comment--here it is:

"This woman is so obnoxious and rude. The class may be easy but I had several times where I thought she should be kicked for the way she talked to us. She knows English and has her moments where she is likable, but they are few and far between."

Me? I'm still trying to figure out what that comment means. I think students ought to have to sign their names!

Must be terrible, being a student, feeling as though you have no power. It's so much easier to bash your teachers anonymously than it is to actually talk to them, but few students are brave enough to do that. I'm sorry the student feels that way, but, since he/she hasn't bothered to talk to me, I can't really do anything about it. And, actually, I still don't have any idea what the student is talking about.

Anyway, that's the only comment like that, out of 20 comments. Most of them are really nice and, I think, give potential students a good idea about what they can expect from me and my classes. I appreciate that. I think I'm fair and I try to be helpful, though sometimes I think I am too helpful! A borderline enabler! I'm working hard not to be (an enabler, that is).

I wish, though, we had a "rate your," but I think that would be too obvious. If I rated my students, they would know who did the rating! And I suppose that's what grades are for, though I really do believe students in my classes get the grades they earn.

Rate My Professor is a strange and interesting site. I suppose it gives students a way to vent safely, but I try not to pay much attention to it. If I worry too much about how my students "feel" about me, I'm likely not going to do what I need to do to help them understand whatever I'm teaching. I don't think professors should dismiss their students' feelings, but I don't think that teaching is a popularity contest. It's what I do, and I try to do the best I can.

For the most part, I have wonderful students. They work hard, and most of them want to get the most out of our classes. I appreciate their effort and I try to reward hard work. But, if a student wants an A without putting forth any effort, that student will be unhappy with me and my class. I don't think that's my problem (or "my monkey," as I say). I will do everything in my power to help a student who wants help, but I'm not "giving" grades that aren't deserved.

I both love and hate the end of a semester--I say this at the end of every semester, but I always mean it. I'll miss most of my students--the ones who put forth some effort, anyway!

1 comment:

Candice said...

Obnoxious and rude, not the two words I would use to describe your attitude in class towards your students. Honest and demanding, I think are two for you. You demand attention, respect, and effort. You are honest, without being hurtful or rude. I also find you commical at times during class. The best is how unguarded you are with your students. You give personal experiences, relating them to the subject matter. They aren't contrived and they aren't about painting a perfect pretty image of yourself for your students. It allows your students to be forthcoming and more truthful in writing, for me anyhow. You are many things in class, but I can't fathom "obnoxious and rude".