RateMyTeachers.com Blog

Saturday, November 01, 2003

RateMyTeachers.com Newsletter #1

RateMyTeachers.com Newsletter #1
November 2003

Welcome to the inaugural RateMyTeachers.com newsletter, jam-packed with our latest news, happenings, and anecdotes. Jam-packed is one of those loaded phrases, so in short, we want to keep you abreast of what is happening on the site, challenges we face, and goals we are tackling. If you are not interested in receiving this monthly, click the remove link at the bottom of the email and we will not bother you again! Promise!

We have come a long way since we launched this site in August 2001. This month we will reach our three millionth teacher rating. We have served millions of students and teachers and continue to reach into classrooms across all parts of the US and Canada.

What does your teacher think of RateMyTeachers?
We receive notes from teachers every day, some thanking us, some condemning us to destruction (or at least a frivolous lawsuit). To some, we are hardly better than the Taliban, or something akin to a poorly driven wrecking ball, carelessly smashing teacher reputations. On the contrary, some teachers love the site and express how they have improved their approach to the classroom, gleaning ideas from the student opinions posted on the site. Often, teachers post the site on their chalkboards and ask students use it in a constructive manner. Then again, some teachers run to the administration and demand the site be banned from school computers! If you had to choose between these two teachers, who do you think you would prefer? In addition, we would love to know what your teachers think of the site.

Here is typical note, one we received this week from a teacher.
“When I heard of your site from another faculty member, I knew it was something I had to see. Not knowing what to expect, I was a little leery of the commentary out there pertaining to me. I was so impressed that I actually put a link to your website on the main page of my own site that I maintain for my students and their parents. I think the reviews and corresponding point ratings are right on.”

Why is RateMyTeachers so Popular?
We all know RateMyTeachers stirs an intense reaction within anyone with an opinion about education. We have received lots of press, but one question that has never been addressed by our detractors is “why do students love it?” Never in the history of education have students had such a tool to be heard, to inject their voice into their classroom experience. The fact that this tool now exists and students are logging on in droves proves that students actually care about what goes on in their classroom. Sometimes, popular culture paints a negative picture about our young people, as too stupid for their own good, or simply in need of a push in the right direction from the altruistic mind molders from on high (e.g. the movie Dangerous Minds) in order to be successful and happy. Are student opinions “useless,” as some critics contend? I am eight years removed from high school, and though I cannot speak for everybody, but I certainly felt I had valid opinions then, and now – I wish I had this tool back then. Who knows what changes I might have been able to effect or encourage? I could have revealed the teacher who never ceased to lose our papers and mark them as zeros in the grade book, or been brave enough to suggest a few changes to my favorite teacher. She had a great curriculum, but had a few idiosyncrasies that needlessly turned some students off.

Teacher of the Month
Each month we will highlight a teacher who is connecting with students and deserves praise as a stellar educator. This month we would like to recognize Ken Raftery, a math teacher at Brooklyn Tech High School in Brooklyn, NY. Check out these comments:
“Gives homeworks that tie in PERFECTLY with his tests.”
“He's makes calculus easy...too easy...it's funny b/c I almost failed pre-cal!”
“He makes all the material seem easy and prepares you for the next level. “
“I was getting 70s in math before I had Mr.Raftery, now I am getting 90s in Math”
Fellow students, teachers, parents, and administrators who read Mr. Raftery’s 119 ratings can clearly see he is getting through to his students and no question, a superior asset to Brooklyn Tech.

We want to thank Mr. Raftery, and will present him with a complimentary RateMyTeachers t-shirt, the same ones available through our storefront off the front page. We hope he wears it with the same pride as his students share in him. If you are a Brooklyn Tech student, please congratulate Mr. Raftery for a job well done.

I wish you all the best as mid-semester exams approach.

Until next month,
Michael Hussey