RateMyTeachers.com Blog

Sunday, February 01, 2004

RateMyTeachers.com Newsletter #4

RateMyTeachers.com Newsletter #4
February 2004

Yes, winter break is over, but spring break is yet a long way off. January just came and went in the blink of an eye and February threatens to do the same. How are you spending your time? For some, the pressure is on to complete college applications, but it all seems to take longer than it should. For some, the buildup to the SAT and PSAT is overwhelming. Still others are concerned about applying for financial aid and paying for school. And some don’t feel any of these pressures at all.

In any case, RateMyTeachers is here for you. Not only are we blowing through 4 million ratings this week, but we’ve recently amassed a great stable of partners to help with all your college prep and high school concerns. Last month we introduced you to our advice columnist, The Guidance Guy, Larry Hochman. This month, we are introducing a new perspective to go face-to-face with Larry – the articulate teenager and RMT admin, Amber. Larry and Amber have already received tons of questions and we will be publishing the best of the best very soon. Stay tuned and continue to send them your questions.

Still trying to figure out how you are going to pay for college or university? Has your guidance counselor told you about the FAFSA form (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)? If not, go ask them about it right away. You will need to fill out this form to be eligible for the most common financial aid packages, such as Stafford Loans, work study employment, and most grants. Every year, thousands of students are needlessly denied critical financial aid because of errors on their FAFSA application. Make sure your application is filled out properly before you mail it in or your mistakes could be costly. FAFSA.com is an affordable service that reviews, prepares and electronically submits your FAFSA application. For financial aid peace of mind, check them out at:

Already thinking about prom dates, dresses, limos and how to pay for it all? The people at PromSpot.com are all over it for you – and they are giving $1000 to the school that signs up the most people through our site. Log on to our front page and click the banner to sign up for your school. As an added bonus, we are giving $100 prizes to the moderators from the top 3 schools in this contest.

Speaking of moderators - does your school have one? If not, the site could really use your help! The moderators handle their school's page on the site. They screen and approve or delete all ratings and teachers. It is a very important position - and will help YOUR school's page be run in the right way. If you are interested, please click on the link on your school's page and follow the directions. With the PromSpot.com contest running, there couldn’t be a better time to sign up.

Until next month,
Michael Hussey

RateMyTeachers PRESENTS: The Guidance Guy – Larry Hochman
RateMyTeachers is proud to present real life guidance counselor, Larry Hochman, a.k.a. “The Guidance Guy.” Larry Hochman is a guidance counselor in central Connecticut and has joined the RateMyTeachers team to answer any questions facing our students. Larry is the author of “Nine Secrets to College and Career Success” and is a treasure trove of information. We are proud and lucky to have him on our team. http://www.ratemyteachers.com/advise.jsp

Feel free to ask the Guidance Guy anything on your mind at school and he will do his best to assist you. Each month, we will choose some of the best questions and answers to publish on the site.

Forced Listening at the Dentist's Office
By Larry Hochman (The Guidance Guy)

Recently I made a visit to the dentist for a cleaning and examination.
Not bad...actually got a good report.
I only had about five minutes with the dentist herself; the rest of the time was spent with the hygienist, who does the cleaning.
Janet is a lovely woman, with two children she tells me all about everytime I go in there. One is in high school, the other in college. She knows I'm a high school guidance counselor and also knows about the network marketing business my wife and I operate.
So she'll tell me lots of things about her kids, lots of things about education, and a few things about health and nutrition; some of which I agree with and some I don't.
Janet is a great person for me to be around.
I guess something happens when you spend much of your working time having conversations with people who can't respond because you have your hands inside their mouths...you tend to start dominating the conversation.
And while I know how to be quiet, I also know that when the conversation focuses on something I know a lot about, I feel the urge to sound off.
Janet speaks freely on issues that inspire me to answer.
But I can't...she has her fingers inside my blowhole!
So Janet is working on me and chatting away, and I'm practically jumping out of my skin because I want to answer back. It's not that I disagree with what she says. Most of it is good common sense.
As my toes clench in my shoes with the desire to talk, I come to realize that it's more about me wanting to spout off than actually wanting to respond to her.
It's not about helping Janet. It's about my ego.
When you talk with people, how much is really communicating with them and being interested in what they say, versus how much you can assert your own expertise on the issue at hand?
My favorite conversation choreography... two people yapping back and forth about whatever is happening in their lives at that particular moment.
And as each talks, the other waits patiently for their turn so THEY can talk about their current events.
No dialog takes place, yet each gets a turn to talk and pretend to listen.
Everyone's happy (sort of).
So I come to realize that my desire to talk with Janet is more to validate my own ego than to actually listen to her. And I resolve to be a better listener and to care more about the issues of others.
And that's a good piece of information to have about oneself...even if it's learned with a potentially painful instrument to one's gums.
And when I get out of the chair, I repress the desire to say everything that's been on my mind...knowing that the art of listening makes one a much more valuable person.
And knowing that in a few months, I'll be right back in that chair.

Feel free to email any comments or questions to the Guidance Guy at: larry@guidanceguy.com
Please check out his website at: http://www.guidanceguy.com