Friday, March 5, 2010

Rate My Professors Sucks and I Hate It.

I just made a mistake.

I swore off RMP a long time ago because I found something incredibly cruel written about a good friend. But today I wound up clicking on my own rating--see, I just updated my faculty webpage, and so I googled myself to make sure that it was coming up properly. RMP came up in the results, and I thought, what the hell.

There are two comments.

One is very nice.

And one Just wow. I am apparently the worst professor ever, according to this anonymous individual who even changed the name of the course into something insulting. What he or she wrote is, quite simply, hateful.

And I know that this doesn't mean anything, because I know that most of my students do like my classes more or less--and do seem to like me--and seem to learn from them--and my evaluations are very good. But the fact that someone would go out of his or her way to write such horrible things about a person, anonymously, in public? I have to teach in an hour and I'm in my office crying, for fuck's sake.

However I offended you with my comments on your papers, Student, I did not insult you as a person and publish said insult on the internet. Okay?

Personal ban of RMP resumed.

ETA: Okay. I'm over it. I just needed to get that out.... Also I haven't been feeling very well today--nothing specific, just a sensation like the bones of my head are on too tight, if that makes sense--so perhaps I was extra vulnerable. Anyway, WHATever. Just about everyone gets something nasty written about herself on RMP; it was my turn, that's all.

I do wish, though, that there were fewer venues for people to spew venom about others in public. You know? Not just on RMP, but in general. There's so much nasty snark out there--the public ridiculing of reality TV contestants, celebrities, etc.--people refer to themselves as "catty" as though it were a badge of honor. But it's all so terribly cruel and unhealthy.


Notorious Ph.D. said...

If you think it's bad to be personally insulted by this person... just think of how awful it must be to be this person, what with having a soul like a little shriveled peanut and all.

heu mihi said...

True, true! That is a consolation, in its way.

Really, though, is there a way to opt out of RMP's databases? It doesn't seem like we should all be required to be subjected to public, anonymous commentary.

Kate said...

I agree, there should be a way to do this. I mean, don't some of these comments constitute slander? I too swore off RMP when I found two comments made on my physical appearance, and a smattering of positive and negative comments... since of course each negative one stung about a million times more than the positive ones encouraged me.

Phul Devi said...

I have a fair number of comments, and most of them are positive. But once I got one that gave me a row of 11111s, with no course number listed (just "i dropped"), and a brief comment that just said something like, "bad, avoid." I left it there for a while as a badge of honor, but after about two years, I checked back again and was bothered by it -- particularly since the student indicated s/he did not even finish the class. I flagged it to RMP, pointing out that the student wrote s/he dropped, and that the line of 1s clearly was meant just to be spiteful. They removed it 2 days later. I'd imagine you could do something similar, especially if the student is clearly being ad mulierem about it, and if s/he has not given correct info about which class s/he took.
Sorry it made you feel so cruddy, though. I know what you mean about the head-bones being too tight: happens to me too. It's a great description.

Fretful Porpentine said...

I refuse even to consider looking at RMP. The prospect of reading my official course evaluations makes me feel physically sick for days before they come out, and there ain't no way I'm subjecting myself to that more than twice a year.

I'm sorry your student (or ex-student, one hopes?) is being such a jerk.

medieval woman said...

Oh, that fucker! Those people suck ad you're totally right to be annoyed and hurt by that - when I get a bad RMP, I have a friend or TD get on and leave a "great" comment ostensibly responding to the previous bad comment.

I'll get the ninjas on it.

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Dr. Koshary said...

I'm sure you already recognize that the anonymity of the internet means that any asshole with low self esteem can unload without consequences on anything or anyone he or she likes. Given the vitriolic comments I have received on official evaluations, I can scarcely imagine what the dissatisfied students -- which, I suspect, are almost always the ones who fucked themselves over and failed the class -- would say if they bothered to create a RMP profile for me! The idea of a site for students to share their impressions of a prof necessarily allows for a lot of useless whining, too. (Silver lining: as I recall from my undergrad days, even fellow college students recognize such screeds as saying more about the author than the prof.)

Cruel and unhealthy sums it up pretty well.

P said...

I'm somewhat late to the conversation, but oh how this post resonates with me.

I swore off RMP once I started my t-t job because one of my first reviews said I taught my U.S. Latino/a Lit "from a white perspective." WTF?

RMP reflects student satisfaction, not actually learning. Of course you know this, but it still hurts. Yes. So, definitely don't go there!

As for the culture of snark, I think it's very unhealthy too. Then again, when I'm feeling down, I will go visit Rate My Students. A nice new (if snarky) perspective.

frharry said...

When I was in middle school, there was a phenomenon known as "slam books." In it, people's names were listed with space below to write whatever people wanted to write. Usually the remarks ranged from catty to cruel. It was an adventure in self-induced depression to read one's own column. I see RMP as the webversion of the slam book only the middle school kids now focus on their college professors.

Unknown said...

Does anyone know how to opt out of RMP? I asked them directly, and was completely ignored of course. They seem to have no problem using my name and job to support their business, but obviously feel they have no responsibility whatsoever to even respond to my questions. Nice, typical BS internet company that deserves to die.


I am sure I am ever so late to weigh in on this article, but well done.

I am the newest of new, this is my first semester teaching. All of my colleagues keep smiling and telling me how much enthusiasm and inspiration I bring to the department, I am currently the breath of fresh air. I am overjoyed to be teaching - an so excited for each day I spend in the classroom.

Last week I received my peer review as a new instructor, which includes an evaluation survey from students. I wont be hearing the results until the end of the semester, but the anticipated results and affects on my career been gnawing at me; nights are long and sleepless and I wake pale and unrefreshed.

Then, as I settled into the acceptance that I am doing what I need to be doing, regardless of the review and its results - a colleague told me about RMP. She said not to worry about the peer evaluations and the student surveys - the real terror lies out there. She was right.

I made the horrible misjudgement of looking...thinking - I have only been teaching for 5 weeks, I hardly have student names memorized. I wont be there.

But alas, my colleague was right, so right. I received a review of "AWFUL". In week 2. I suppose, technology not functioning, and IT being an hour late and new teacher nerves played into the first week of class, but all course content is redundant and available online, I countered. But the comments fall on deaf ears, no one cares that I painstakingly spent my summer working to build this course [twice], so that attendance would not prevent students from missing valuable presentation content, examples of work or explicit assignment instructions.

But now - in week 2 of my brand new career, the one I have worked 20 years for...taking one class here or there as I raised a family, worked full-time and finally found a place that I could call mine, just 2 weeks into my first semester I have been branded "AWFUL". My husband will know, my kids will know, my colleagues will know, and of course - my future students will know.

Do I blame RMP? Yes. Do I blame the student? Yes. Do I blame myself? MOST OF ALL. Sadly, a new voice has been added to the internal monologue of not being good enough, and it too is "AWFUL".

My adult self, the one that says "you are good enough", you are the best you you can be right now - learn from this and move on"...knows that this too is true. My adult self knows a few students tell me each week they are seeing their own growth and progress, they are gaining confidence in their ability, and this is one person I will never be able to reach.

My anger and hurt simply lies in the fact that I will carry "AWFUL" as a little voice through each and every class this semester - and between midnight and 2am a shrieking banshee, because in week 2, I could not satisfy one person with a RMP accounts expectation of being even tolerable.

What a crying shame.

Clearly, I am not an English teacher...and a review of awful for my grammar, syntax and anything else would be welcome!

Unknown said...

I was feeling pretty good about this semester, having just entered my grades and cleaned my office for winter break. Then I made the mistake of checking out RMP. I wanted to see what my ratings looked like now in comparison to my previous female incarnation because I am a Transman. I have, for the last three years, been doing a professorial "costume-change on stage" since beginning to live authentically. My previous reviews as a female were top-notch, albeit the ubiquitous appearance comments. Apparently, though, after assuming my true masculine self, I am an asshole of a professor. WTF? Maybe this could be a new study -- how Trans faculty members rate before and after on RMP...