So I start classes in less than 48 hours and as you can imagine, I counted on RateMyProfessor.com considerably before I made final decisions on the classes I'd take. It was painstaking and even annoying at times, but it was well worth the effort. Now imagine being a teacher and going through it to find out what your students think about you...
After Redditor perpetually_hungryyy asked the online community, "Professors of Reddit, have you ever looked yourself up on RateMyProfessor? What did you find?" many came forward to share their stories.
"I agree, random undergrad."
I looked up my partner on RateMyProfessor. Someone wrote that he is so attractive it's hard to pay attention.
I agree, random undergrad.
"I had more fun..."
I only teach online and never meet my students, but somehow got a chili pepper. I also had a student complain that I liked my subject too much.
I had more fun reading my mother's reviews. I suspected she was a good teacher, but seeing all the glowing comments made me so happy.
Well I HAD a 4.0 until the student that I caught plagiarising left a 1 star review calling me the most arrogant professor she ever had.
Girl, maybe don't copy whole paragraphs that are written in British standard English and try to turn them in as your own work when you're going to an American community college. Not my fault you cheated.
"I was the undergrad liaison..."
I was the undergrad liaison to my major's departmental meetings. They all do. It was hilarious to watch the ones with negative reviews rail against it while pretending that they hadn't looked themselves up on it; meanwhile the ones with positive ratings half heartedly agreeing with them that it's bad.
In grad school we did a parody video: professors readings mean ratemyprof reviews about themselves. My favourite was the dean "'Here's a tip: never wear an argyle tie with an argyle sweater.' [looks confused] I don't even own an argyle sweater."
A student once wrote, "She is a very good teacher. She is not perfect, because only God is perfect, but she is a very good teacher."
Two different students, several years apart, left me a two word review: "The devil." Most of my other reviews are very positive, and my average is high, but "The devil," twice, has always made me grin. I mean, I teach at a Christian college, so that must be a serious new achievement in incompetence if they hired the devil to be a professor!
"He said that I was..."
The funniest review was from an organ performance major.
He said that I was "the only instructor who could effectively teach organ technique and the performance of literature in the studio while simultaneously correcting a wrong note he heard coming from a piano major across the hall in a practice room!"
"She has a good sense of humor..."
One of my coworkers is a former college professor. On one of her reviews, someone wrote, "She thinks she's funny. She's not. It's awkward."
It's also on Ratemyprofessor: "She is very awkward also and tries to make jokes sometimes that aren't very funny."
But she's also rated very highly, which matches my experience with her - she is extremely good at delivering information. She has a good sense of humor for us, but we're all a little warped here, so that's probably the difference.
"But I can't know..."
Bit of a mix. Some said some really lovely things, but the one I'm still salty about said that I talk too fast and that they couldn't get the notes down. TELL ME THESE THINGS WHILE I'M TEACHING. I want my students to learn! But I can't know if you're lost if you don't tell me.
It's something I now carefully reiterate at the start of each semester.
"The department secretaries..."
Not on ratemyprofessor, but the first semester I taught at the university level, one of the comments on my evaluations was "would look good in leather." The department secretaries had to type them up before giving us the originals to read and they got quite the laugh out of that. Someone else said, "Decent to look at, but talks too much." I mean, I was teaching the class...
"Not that site..."
Not that site, but on a similar one I saw students debating which Hogwarts house I would be in and that they liked my hair.
"I have a 5.0 rating..."
I have a 5.0 rating and back in the day I had a chili pepper, but I don't think people use RMP as much as they did back when I was in college! I get rated very infrequently, maybe once every couple years.
"Was seriously coming here..."
Was seriously coming here to say I've never seen my name on the site in the 20 years I've been teaching, but just looked and I'm there! Three ratings in the last 3 years, all very kind and encouraging. Seriously this makes me want to put even more time and effort into the class now!
"The only negative one I recall..."
Mostly positive. The only negative one I recall was from a student who either slept through or skipped most every class, and completed very few of the assignments. He failed. Pro-tip: never leave comments about a writing professor, they know your writing style.
"I'm only an adjunct..."
I'm generally well-liked, and even had the chili pepper back when that was a thing. I'm only an adjunct, so I don't have tons of ratings, but there are only a couple of negative ratings, and the messages clearly clash with the other messages on the board.
"I haven't looked myself up..."
I haven't looked myself up in many years but I had a student come to me last semester concerned that some of the comments on there from one user were indicative of stalking behavior. I'm guessing the person graduated at some point because it stopped I was told.
So that was weird.
"Found my name..."
I did a stint at University as a lab instructor. Found my name on the website a few weeks after the course ended. Someone wrote that I was hot with a chili pepper next to it. Could have been worse I guess.
"Reading their comments..."
Yes. The most odd thing was an extremely low rating. Reading their comments, their description didn't match me or my class(es). A bit of common sense deduction told me they were talking about a completely different (and terrible) instructor in my department. Someone else spotted this as well, and posted to that effect.
4.8 quality, 2.5 difficulty. Mostly the students who review me are happy with me, but I'd like it if the difficulty score were a bit higher. The problem is that I make it really clear what you have to do, and most assignments are small and targeted, so they don't realize that by doing all the little stuff they're actually learning.
"There's been a lot of research..."
I got great reviews and even the chili pepper, which is nice, but I just hate the idea that anyone can post something about me as if I was a product on Amazon or something. There's been a lot of research on how teacher evaluations can have tons of bias and are not really a great metric for understanding educational quality. The pressure of performing well all the time so that I don't get a shitty review on this site that is now permanently associated with my name without my consent really bothers me, tbh.