I'm due to go back to school soon––the coronavirus pandemic has had a way of making a lot of us reconceptualize our lives and individual goals. As you can imagine, I spent a fair amount of time on RateMyProfessor.com before committing to certain classes. I'm confident about my choices, but feel free to ask me how I feel come September or so. (None of the reviews I read were insane or anything, by the way.)
After Redditor njck-njck asked the online community, "Professors of Reddit: Do you ever look yourself up on RateMyProfessor and if so, what is the funniest review someone has left about you?" those in the higher education community (and those who love them) came forward to share their stories.
"My uncle is a professor..."
My uncle is a professor and he got into a dispute with a student a couple of semesters ago. My uncle caught the kid cheating red-handed because my uncle could see that the kid was on the class webpage during an exam, and then he looked at the kid and saw him clearly trying to be sneaky with his phone. So the kid got into all the trouble universities have in store for cheaters. But then the kid accused my uncle of being racist, that he's only being accused of cheating because he is Asian. My uncle has all of the proof needed to show that this claim was ba, and the kid got punished appropriately.
A few weeks later my uncle checked RMP and there were several reviews (all with similar-sounding language) accusing him of being a racist. He contacted RMP and explained the situation and they all got taken down. Then a few weeks later a bunch of (again, similarly-worded) reviews came up saying that my uncle is too old to be a professor (I think he was 47 when this all happened). He had those taken down too, but he tells his students that story before every exam and now students will post "definitely not too old to be a professor :-)" and stuff like that on his RMP page, because he's actually a good professor and people really like him.
"I looked up..."
I looked up my partner on RateMyProfessor. Someone wrote that he is so attractive it's hard to pay attention.
I agree, random undergrad.
My very first comment was: in all caps, "Don't take her!! All she ever does is talk about witches and fairytales and then throws the assignment at you expecting you to know everything."
For starters, it was one day. It was a genre-themed writing class and we did one day on the fairy tale genre discussing structure, themes, etc. They read the "The Snow Queen" and then they could do an optional extra credit assignment about Frozen.
This was posted on the day we discussed fairy tales and I also returned a major essay that day. A student threw a huge hissy fit in class over a B+ instead of an A. I pulled her aside and went through her paper with her explaining deductions. She apparently was still mad.
That was my only comment and rating for awhile.
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!"
"This was an English 101 class..."
Just a student, but I had a professor that I looked up after getting 3 weeks into the course because of how bad it was to follow every single rule. This was an English 101 class over the summer online. The professor had a couple hundred reviews with an average rating of 1.4.
Two separate 10-plus page documents of rules with a third that was 11 pages of banned words and phrases, due dates that would be changed without an email or notification of any kind, and so many grammar errors that it was impossible to process.
She would change due dates by editing the syllabus online, but not tell anybody. So anyone that was like me, and used the original syllabus for the first couple weeks was going to be given a zero on our first big assignment because she moved the due date from a Friday to the Monday earlier in the week. After getting multiple complaints, she gave everyone their fair grade.
Now the funniest review was "this class was like 1984 for being controlled by fear from the thought police, but I couldn't even write that in a paper because it was banned."
"We also look..."
We also look at each others. Professors who are lovely in normal life can be total a-holes in the classroom.
One professor I know got fired for trading sex for grades and got another job. I found out he would submit his own "Rate My Professor" evals because he submits ones that say he is handsome but uses outdated language. For example both his most recent evaluations said he was "Easy on the eyes" which as far as I know is not a common phrase with 19 year olds.
"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.
It's two words long: "The devil."
Twice. I got that twice. Either two students left it, or one wanted to make sure you didn't miss it. Either way, I whooped out loud and showed all my friends.
(Understand, most of my scores are positive, and I do care about what my students think and doing right by them. But that just hit me funny: "The devil.")
"In grad school..."
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."
"I had had fairly major surgery..."
I had had fairly major surgery a week before classes started and warned my students to let me know if I didn't make sense because Demerol.
On a 5 star review I got, "Great teacher even if she was on drugs!"
"A student once wrote..."
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."
"I taught a community college class..."
I taught a community college class for two semesters, and I saw on that site two people complained I was often late. I was always at least 15 minutes early since I wasn't working then. That was confusing.
"I had a professor..."
I had a professor pretend to be a student and leave himself good reviews. Very obviously written in his speech pattern etc. Highlight was when half the class was failing and he said "I'm a good student and I love this professor, I do very well in his class unlike some other of my poorly prepared peers."
Former lecturer. Nothing funny, but one review complained that I didn't allow him to just claim credit for group labs that he admittedly didn't participate in completing.
"Most students at the school..."
I can neither confirm nor deny this, but I am a prof and I normally teach first year students in uni. I'm a f*cking joker, so my reviews on RM are kinda skewed. Basically every review is complete trash and says I'm a horrible person and extremely mean and strict and fail as many people as I can etc, etc. In short, I have a deal with my students that they can only post to RMP with a fake bad review.
There are probably like a good 40-50 of them.
It's jokes because as soon as students come into my classroom they realize that the reviews are full of sh!t and I'm actually a good guy. I usually let them steep in terror for a couple of lectures before I explain my evil plan. They even end up helping out by coming up with horrible negative reviews.
Most students at the school already know that it's all in good fun but every now and then when you get a student that relies heavily on those reviews, it's awesome to watch their face go from horror to joy.
"We actually asked..."
We actually asked our physics professor this at my old CC. He said he did because he likes the feedback good, bad, and ugly and when we asked what his favorite feedback was it was one declaring he kinda looks like Ben Stiller.
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