Grading your Graders: Website provides venue for students to “grade” teachers, includes positive, negative comments

Sally Cochran, Editor in Chief

“While being hard to deal with, she does teach well.”
“Not nice to freshman.”
“Maybe not a great teacher, but she certainly wasn’t terrible.”
“He was very flexible with coming in for help, and he was really easy to talk to.”
All of these are real posts referring to Blue Valley teachers on the website ratemyteachers.com.
On this website, students are able to anonymously rate teachers and post comments about their classes. The website has a considerable section for Blue Valley with 112 teachers rated. However, some of these teachers have retired or are no longer at BV.
Students can rate teachers from 0-100 percent based on subscores of easiness, helpfulness and clarity.
English Language Arts teacher Kelsey Bakalar, who has a 96 percent rating on the site based off 10 ratings, said she had looked at the website before.
“I probably looked at it once in my first couple of years here,” she said. “Actually, I had a friend send me the link and say, ‘Here, you should look at this.’ I must have [looked myself up], but I don’t remember.”
Junior Morgan Holland said she thought some of the ratings are skewed due to the difficulty of the class.
“I disagreed on [math teacher Kyle] Braden’s and [chemistry teacher Neerav] Shah’s [ratings] because how hard the class is made their ratings go down,” she said. “But, I like them as teachers.”
Bakalar said she is unsure about the site’s reputability due to its anonymity.
“I’m always wary of anything that’s posted without someone’s name,” she said. “If the question was ‘Do I value student and parent feedback?’ — absolutely. I’m constantly trying to be my best. But I feel like this situation, I kind of have to take with a grain of salt.”
Holland hadn’t heard of the website previously but said she might use it in the future.
“There’s a possibility [that I’d use the website] if I really wanted to know about the teacher,” she said.
Holland said the website is relevant because the quality of a teacher can be a deciding factor in choosing your schedule.
“It all depends on the teacher if you’re on the borderline of dropping the class,” Holland said.
The BV District has blocked this website on all computers.
“I think [blocking the website] makes sense,” Bakalar said. “Is Facebook blocked during the day and other social media sites? Looking at this is of no academic value.”
Bakalar said she thinks the website would be more useful at the college level.
“I think in college, this would be a very valuable tool because you can select your professors,” she said. “But, I feel like in high school, since you can’t choose your teachers, it kind of defeats the purpose. Plus, I think every student is different, so one student getting on [the website] and saying that I’m either fabulous or horrible isn’t necessarily indicative of another student’s experience.”