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Students critique staff at ‘ratemyteachers.com’
Teachers and staff rated on a 1- to -5 scale


Students from all school grades worldwide are using the Internet to critique their teachers.

Similar to other teen sites that are designed for youth to chat for endless hours, ratemyteachers.com, a Web site that subjects teachers and staff to comments of both students and parents, is geared for students to comment freely without parents’ knowledge and rating their teachers on a 1-5 scale.

Farragut High School, for example, has had 172 entries during the past three years rating subjects and teachers from 17 registered users and boasts more than 9,000 hits. Farragut Middle has 377 entries with more than 2,000 hits; Farragut Intermediate has 74 entries and Farragut Primary has one entry with about 100 hits. Bearden High School has 235 entries by nine registered users with more than 2,500 hits. Overall, Farragut and Bearden schools rate pretty high.

The site states 750 schools and 180 school districts in the United States have blocked the site including Girls Preparatory School in Chattanooga and Woodland Middle School in Brentwood.

Students’ comments about teachers and principals are posted, and parents may not be aware their children are participating.

Ratemyteachers.com is an international site that was started by American Michael Hussey. He refers to the site as “honest, essential critique,” but some school officials disagree.

Michael Reynolds, FHS principal, was familiar with the site, but said he hadn’t heard anyone discussing it in a couple of years, and said he thought most teachers ignored it.

“These things exist. Hopefully, things that are libelous aren’t allowed to be printed,” he said. “What’s concerning is that there aren’t any guidelines. It’s one of those things there’s no control over.”

“People can be hurt. Their careers can be damaged. Comments can be made in jest, but when it appears in print, you lose the inflection in which it was said and the context in which it was said,” Reynolds added.

John Beckett, a Farragut High School math teacher, has heard of the site.

“I’ve never been there myself, but I’ve heard from students that my scores are pretty good,” he said.

Rules for use on the site are posted with the caveat that misuse will be subject to censure.

“By using this site you agree to rate and comment only on teachers, administrators (principals, vice principals), counselors or other school professionals who affect a student’s education. Do not include secretaries, lunch ladies, janitors or security people. They will not be accepted. You may rate each teacher (or other professional) only once.

“Keep your comments appropriate. Do not state something as a fact if it is your opinion. For example, stating ‘Mrs. Jones doesn’t have a college degree’ will be deleted. Please rate your teachers based on your opinion of their teaching ability. Please try to provide us with an insight into what is happening in the classroom.”

Comments will be deleted that:

• contain vulgar or profane words

• are sexual in nature — including “sexy” or “hot”

• have to do with personal appearance (cute, short, fat, bad clothes, etc.)

• have to do with physical disabilities (stutters, limps, wears a hearing aid, etc.)

• are name-calling in nature (jerk, creep, etc.)

• reference mental, alcohol and drug use

• reference problems with the law

• reference race, religion, ethnic background, sexual orientation, age

• include names or initials of other students or the rater or any e-mail addresses

• reference the teacher’s personal life including family members (Just got married, Don’t like her son, Wife is pretty, How did he afford that car? etc.)

• contain advertising (Buy your yearbooks today! Danny for Class President!)

• are not in English. (Exceptions may be made if the screener is fluent in a specific language and it is the language of the area).

All comments that:

• threaten a teacher, a student, the administrators or the school property

• state the rater intends to harm himself or herself will be turned over to the proper authorities with the IP address.



Carolyn Evans contributed to this story.

 

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