Students: stop bullying teachers online

RateMyProfessor shouldn’t be an outlet for anger against professors

Michael McShane
Staff Writer

We’ve all had that class. Loads of homework, tests with confusing questions, and syllabuses that read more like prison guidelines than course descriptions. Those classes can be brutal and those who fail can feel angry, and rightfully so.

But more often than not the blame over that bad grade is pinned on the teacher, who has to deal with large class sizes, multiple different classes a day, a tight schedule, and at the end of the day, bad reviews on RateMyProfessor.

RateMyProfessor.com is a website created in 1999 as a way for college students to, well, rate their professors for others to read. I personally see this as a good idea as it informs students aboutthe teaching style the specific teacher has. The student can then judge which one is better for how they like to learn.

That’s the good part of RMP. The bad part of the site is the spiteful, unneeded comments that vilifies the professor.

“horrible teacher. horrible. aviod,” one review states.

Simply saying a class sucks and then following that statement by explaining it’s because the course was hard is not a valid reason. Saying the teacher is bad because their lectures are boring is not a valid reason.

Can classes be hard and teachers boring? Yes, but to attack them and call them “horrible” or “the worst teacher ever” is not going to solve anything. In fact, it makes the student writing the review look worse than the teacher.

The bullying is even worse for teachers with ethnic backgrounds. 

“He has a very thick accent and you cannot understand him. I sat in the front row and came to every single lecture, it was completely useless,” one user wrote.

“DO NOT TAKE ANY CLASSES WITH THIS PROFESSOR. His accent makes him difficult to understand and he does not explain concepts,” another user wrote.

Both of those reviews were from different teachers. There’s a simple solution when you have a teacher with an accent. Go up to them after class and talk to them one on one about the assignment or issue. 

I’ve had teachers who have thick accents and it is hard to understand them at times. The teacher knows this and that’s why they give time for students to come to them, either after class and during office hours to talk and clear things up.

The idea that because a class is difficult means that it is also bad is nonsense. We’re college students writing about teachers like we’re back in middle school complaining that we didn’t get our way. Many of the reviews I saw read like the person disliked being challenged and simply associated difficulty with poor quality. 

Not only are we college students, we’re adults too and we should act like it when push comes to shove. We shouldn’t resort to going on a website and denigrate a teacher because we didn’t like their teaching style or didn’t like the grade you got.

While there are users on there that actually give positive, constructive criticism which is what this website was meant for, but the bullying that I see on there is hard to ignore and prevalent throughout

Cyberbullying has become wide spread throughout online forums, comment sections and websites and RateMyProfessor showcases that even teachers are not safe from it as well. 

The simple solution to this problem is better teacher-student communication and for students to not pin the blame squarely on teachers when they don’t like something.

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