Rate My Institute Teacher

Any teacher worth their salt as a teacher desires constructive feedback. Students desire to leave feedback, often anonymously, especially if it’s negative. From early personal experience, I know it’s hard to get sincere and thoughtful feedback when spontaneously asking the question face-to-face. Thus was RateMyProfessor.com born, in which students can rate their professors on a variety of characteristics and provide a brief description.

Assuming one can get an accurate enough perspective to be useful in decision making, would a similar site be appropriate for Institute or Gospel Doctrine teachers, in which prospective students at a University or prospective members of a ward could take the measure of a teacher ahead of time? Why or why not? How would it be different from the informal ward shopping LDS inevitably do when moving?

5 Replies to “Rate My Institute Teacher”

  1. I think that sites like RateMyProfessor are profoundly un-useful for determining the quality of a professor. They tend to elicit sporadic comments rather than a substantive assessment of a teachers skills. Further, they are places where students can act out their vindication for getting bad grades. The problem with these sites is that they encourage teachers to be less rigorous, give easy grades, and avoid challenging students in general because they don’t want to receive negative feedback from anonymous, unaccountable “reviewers.”

    Since these are already pedagogical problems encouraged by the CES instructional rating system, I can’t see how making the ratings public would do anything but promote mediocrity in thinking in CES by encouraging teachers to be “cool,” “easy,” and “laid back” in order to receive good ratings online.

  2. ward shopping

    Wow. I don’t get some people I guess.

    I think it would be fun. If a teacher is uncomfortable with reading negative feedback about him/herself, then he/she is welcome not to read it. I think it would be a fun thing. My counterpart in SS rocks, and I’d love to put the word out.

  3. I think the problem is that that the relationships between teacher and class is very different in the two contexts. In the college example the teacher is there long term teaching the same thing for a long time, the student is there short term. For GD class the teacher might be in place for less than a year, but you have to live next door to them for decades. It seems that a site for feedback such as Rate My Professor would have a very different dynamic in a ward and my guess is that it wouldn’t work well.

  4. I think there is a mechanism for rating teachers in the church, institute or otherwise: the PPI. The priesthood leader with appropriate stewardship should be evaluating the teacher and, perhaps more importantly, forcing the teacher to evaluate herself.

    I think a widespread problem with (in this example, gospel doctrine) teachers in the Church is that they feel no accountability whatsoever. They prepare their lessons during sacrament meeting because they feel their job is to jabber for an hour for an hour between sacrament meeting and relief society. But force them to sit down with their bishop for an interview every quarter, and have the bishop ask the teacher what she’s doing in her calling to help bring people to Christ, and (one hopes) she’ll start to consider the potential of her calling.

  5. I’ve never been the type to ward shop, but for those who do does a ward really stand or fall on its Gospel Doctrine teachers? I just assume their lessons will be ill-prepared and not thought provoking and that’s good enough for me.

    As for institute teachers, this is really only an issue where the institute is large enough so there’s a large corps of teachers. I’d appreciate such a thing for the University of Utah, but it didn’t matter that much to me in Edmonton (the second largest institute outside the US, mind, with 700 students), where there were so few teachers that you could just get informal opinions from folks in your ward, etc. on all of them.

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