Monday, March 14, 2005

Irish Teachers Union Nervous About "Rate My"

Back in September of last year was the first time that I have ever heard of Rate My This is an internet site that has proven wildly popular with both parents and students. What they do is offer students an opportunity, at no charge, to rate their teachers' classroom effectiveness. They then display the collective ratings in an easy-to-read format.

The site offers surveys for junior and senior high schools that are located in the United States, Canada, Britain, and Ireland.

Not surprisingly, many educators don't much care for Rate My Teachers. The problem, as they see it, is that the parents and students who participate in the surveys do so anonymously.

As a classroom teacher myself, I can certainly understand their concerns.

Now, just in time for St. Patrick's day, we have learned that the Teachers Union of Ireland has decided to do something about it. The union
is seeking to get Rate My blocked from school computers:
A spokesperson for the TUI said that although the union hasn't examined the postings in detail, it noted that some of the postings about individual teachers are very negative. The spokesperson said that the union had a problem with the lack of accountability on the site.

"The postings are anonymous, that really speaks for itself," the spokesperson commented.

The TUI (Union-Ed.) points out that teachers are already accountable through existing evaluation systems and said that their performance is monitored through whole school evaluations, subject evaluations and random classroom evaluations.

The US version of the website claims to have received more than five million ratings since its inception five years ago, rating 38,000 middle schools and high schools in the US and Canada.
By making an issue of this, the Irish teachers union has guaranteed that thousands of eager young Irish adolescents will be just itching to get to a keyboard.

We took a look at Rate My's data base in order to learn what there was to learn about our own mid-sized southern California junior high school. Sure enough, our school is listed, but there aren't any teachers that have been rated... yet. *whew*

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