Friday, February 04, 2011

Rate this

Wow, teaching is hard. This is my first time teaching my own course and it's a bit like watching your kid play little league baseball- thrilling, nerve-wracking, very rewarding, but you could also rip the lungs out of the naysayers. Of course, here, I feel a bit guilty because the naysayers are the one or two 'difficult' students in the class, and I was once a difficult student myself. Well, in high school anyway.

This reminds me that the website "Rate Your Students" just shut down. I didn't much like it. The idea was to respond to sites like "Rate Your Professor" in which students bitch about their profs. Here, instructors, adjuncts and profs would anonymously post stories about terrible students in order to blow off steam. I guess they ran out of that steam eventually.

The problem I had with the site was the weird power imbalance- students are already being 'rated' by their instructors, so why rate them again? Part of why students can be so insufferable is that they're stressed out, frustrated, worried, and not really enjoying college in the first place. They all seem to want to be in grad school, which is probably a mistake. So, they bitch and complain. And some of them behave insufferably in class. The answer is not to behave as childishly online.

Of course, with universities phasing out tenure and replacing profs with temp workers, being liked by the students is more important for people's continued employment, so the stress goes both ways. To be honest, what would be best overall would be to do away with grading and rating for everyone and just have salons and discussion groups and learn together. But that wouldn't prepare the students to face the same stupid shit in the working world that they now face in college.


gregvw said...

Don't we already "rate our students?"

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