Humorous advice for students’ negative reviews of professors (opinion)

Nobody in the academy will admit to checking out RateMyProfessors, but we all do it, secretly, at night, on our smartphones.

I’ve read my reviews, and can quote a few lines verbatim, the way I used to memorize poetry in elementary school. My personal best comment is one from a student: “Do you even like teaching?” One student wrote that I’m a great professor because I don’t care when people come late to my class, which surprises me for being so misunderstood. One review bluntly stated, “Buyer beware. Her mood seems to be swinging.” (I love it kind.) Another student wrote that I “do my best” to help the students, which frankly makes me feel great. I will do that now.

But here’s the deal: Negative reviews frustrate me, not because they’re attacks on my education or because they hurt my feelings. My real problem is that it is not well written. As a teacher, I feel compelled – even at this point, Postemester – to “get out of my way” and give those students who are considering writing a negative review some advice.

So, for my students, here’s a rubric (since you always order one).

GRADING RUBRIC FOR “Your Negative Rating on MyProfessors Review”

Your opinion will be evaluated according to the following criteria.

The writer has a clear goal (worth 10 points).

RateMyProfessors candidly tells you that “the fate of future students is in your hands”. You went to the battlefield and came back alive, and it is your job to convince the rest of the troops to advance or withdraw. All of your comments should focus on this goal. On a negative review, you must ensure that no student willingly signs up for that professor’s class. Stick to this purpose – don’t forget it.

You only have 350 characters to use for the review, so include direct comments at the beginning, like Don’t Take That Professor! (The hats will impart power.) or “If you’re in this class, leave it now! Don’t wait – drop it!” The sense of urgency can be compelling.

The writer succeeded in concealing his identity (worth 10 points).

Why write a negative review that reveals who you are? What if you had to take the professor’s class again, especially considering you didn’t do well the first time around? (No, your D won’t transfer to state university, so guess what? I’m back in my class.) Keep your identity confidential. Think carefully about the way you speak or write: Are there certain phrases that you repeat? “She lacks empathy.” Don’t you remember that you wrote in your paper on whaling that “whaler sympathy does not exist”? do not remember? I do.

In this context, don’t mention anything exceptional that happened with this professor. “The professor is totally unfair – he accused me of plagiarism on my Virginia Woolf paper. Me!” It’s not my fault that I still think “borrowing text” from Sparknotes.com is plagiarism: don’t forget I’m old. But don’t you see how that streak gives you that far? Because I haven’t picked up anyone else using a website meant for high school students.

The writer makes sure to mention something disgusting about the professor that has nothing to do with his teaching (worth 10 points).

Is your teacher dressed as a cougar? Or a tramp? Or like your grandfather? Here’s why they don’t get your writing: You’re dressed in a Hollister fall line, your feet are stuffed into your Ugg boots, and your professor looks like he’s shopping at Goodwill. mention it. “The Professor wears whimsical clothes – what’s new in jackets? Shoulder pads are the cool ’90s era.” (Actually, they’re from the ’80s.) “Hey – the ’70s called and they want their Birkenstocks back.”

RateMyProfessors, in its list of tips, advises you to “keep the profession”, but you can still ask something like “The teacher’s idiot talks about Jane Austen every class.” Let her have it – don’t feel bad. I let you down! You are!

The writer meticulously reviews all previous RateMyProfessors posts and successfully refutes the positive ones (worth 15 points).

Do your research. Your goal is to paint a completely awful picture of this professor, so make sure no one makes allegations that could affect the unsuspecting new student. For example, “I don’t know what everyone is talking about. It’s the worst. I emailed her four times Saturday night and by Monday morning she still hadn’t replied.” Or how about this: “I’m not sure why everyone says it’s fair. Not true! He refused to even accept my paper! How was I supposed to know it should be written?” It might take time to go through all the previous posts, but it’s worth it.

The writer ensures, after convincing his or her friends also to post negatively about this professor, that they all publish on different dates (worth 5 points).

Your friends have never had my class before, but they are loyal. Make sure you are strategic in exploiting their enthusiasm. Nothing gets you more than posting 10 negative reviews on the same date as your rating, which may also be one day after the scores appear. Show timeline to your friends. “Carrington, post on Monday, then Bryce, wait until Thursday. Got you?” Take charge of the situation and set a schedule.

Also, make sure that they do not repeat the same complaints – change them a little. If everyone used the same wording, as in “The professor has a bit of an attitude”, this indicates that all 10 reviews had the same author. Not everyone uses the phrase “a little attitude” – see? (See #2 in the evaluation form, about anonymity.)

The writer successfully pretends that he was very interested in the class (worth 20 points).

it is necessary. Nothing speaks of poor teaching more than a teacher who has totally spoiled and destroyed a student’s true enthusiasm for a course. “I was so excited to take this class because I love reading Shakespeare. But this professor ruined me forever for lighting up English. I swear I now suffer from PTSD when I open any book at all.” Just don’t take this too far or you will give yourself away. No one will believe you are excited about English 101 or Introduction to Physics.

The writer successfully and regularly uses slang and emojis to express ideas that can also be best expressed in actual words (5 points).

Show that you know and understand your audience. “Ugh!!! It’s awful!!!!!! frownfrown

The writer discloses information selectively (worth 5 points).

Mention several times that the professor was not helpful to you. “Not helpful! She doesn’t even care about her students and wants us all to screw up.” Don’t mention that you only came to class every two weeks, so when you approached the professor for help with Finals Week, she didn’t know who you were.

The author explains that no student can realistically achieve an A in this class (with a value of 10 points).

That’s right, right? You didn’t take a survey or anything, but nobody who sat in the back row with you got an A, so you know for a fact that the professor doesn’t give it to you. The bespectacled kid, who sat in the front and dressed as Old Navy, probably did, but he’s a geek anyway. He’s wearing Old Navy.

The writer suggests that the professor retire (worth 10 points).

This will really burn them.

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