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Rate My Professors? How About Ratemystudents.com?
By Gloria Diaz
Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!
Fort Wayne Reader
Because nothing is sacred and everyone's a critic, I've discovered a website called Ratemyprofessor.com. I'm not on it (one of the benefits of being a lowly adjunct, I suppose, instead of a full-fledged professor) but I guess in all fairness, it does give students some warning about some of the instructors they might face in their college careers. I was lucky to have professors that were extremely well-educated and tough, but also accessible and not snobby at all. Professors are like bosses: sometimes you'll have great ones who are understanding, sometimes you'll have ones with frozen hearts and ridiculous demands.
But as entertaining and educational as Ratemyprofessor.com is (they even allow students to rate their instructor's “hotness” factor, which is a tad bit creepy, IMHO) there ought to be a website that allows instructors to warn other educators about certain students. Because even though we don't mention their actual names, we've all that “one student” who doesn't work or come to class, yet wants to know how to improve his or her grade. Since Terry Doran loaned me a book about William Wells and his adventures with Native Americans, I've decided to give these students “Indian” names that reflected their work ethic and personalities, because using their real names would get me fired and Michael “Fort Wayne Reader” Summers sued. So here's my first edition of “Rate My Students.”
Years ago, I gave midterms and finals. I'd use a good chunk of class time to tell the students things they needed to know so they could go right to the chapters and study what was going to be on the exam, instead of wasting their precious time studying stuff that wasn't going to be on the exam. I'd tell them to take notes, so they knew exactly what to study. One student asked why didn't I write down what they needed to study, make copies, and hand them out. Well, because they wouldn't read them, that's why. This student gets the name of “How Lazy Can You Be?”
Two young women would come to my once a week class, and leave after the first hour. When I emailed them about it, they said they had to take care of their young children because they couldn't get childcare. These young ladies are called “Leaves Too Soon” and “Should Have Used Birth Control.”
One student I had a year ago claimed the sample papers I had for them to look at were “too long and boring.” Never mind that if you wrote your paper in the format of these papers and cleaned up the typographical and grammar errors, you were on your way to a good paper, she thought they were way too long. Her Indian name was “Complains Too Much.”
One young lady had two jobs, was going to school full-time, and her parents said they'd pay for her school if she maintained a 4.0 average. She was a dream student; she worked extremely hard and turned in clean papers, but I worried about her physical and mental health. Her Indian name is, “Future Mental Breakdown.”
Another pair of young ladies have a hit-or-miss attendance record and even when they do show up, they leave early. Their names are “Drop This Class” and “PLEASE Drop This Class,” respectively.
One young man works too much and is very quiet, probably because he's snoozing. Indian name: “Sleeps in Class.”
Then, I have students that seem to be doing well for most of the semester, then they disappear. I call them, “Without a Trace.”
The students who use “electronic distractions” (i.e. cellphones, tablets, laptops) get a range of names: “Texts In Class,” “Waster of Money,” “What'd She Say?” and “Did You Ever Explain This in Class?”
One student has called me “Ms. Garcia” the entire semester. His name is “Gets Names Wrong.”
I really do think if students can rate their instructors to warn their peers, why can't instructors warn others about certain students? It would be a big help in terms of letting us know what we're in for.
But as for that whole “hotness” factor...I'm not even going to go there.