Student confusion over “disappearance” of Rate My Teacher reviews

Student review site gets a makeover after backlash for slander

The recent disappearance of the favorite site, Rate My Teacher, has left some students and staff wanting answers. For years, the anonymous review page was a hallmark of high school, allowing for students to give feedback on their favorite teachers or for some, to have a sense of passive aggressive closure with a horrible class.

It appears that some might have taken personal vendettas too far though, as comments dating all the way back to RMT’s creation back in 2008 are now no longer available to view.
According to the websites PR Team, Rate My Teacher was purchased from its original owner in late 2018, and was relaunched last march with a “entirely new look and more pragmatically-focused approach,” meaning the new owners wiped all the existing comments.

While Rate My Teacher was intended to give students a way to review their classroom experiences on a scale from 1 to 5 under categories like knowledge and helpfulness, the page known for its funny comments soon became anything but lighthearted for some teachers.

Complaints filed by teachers with the Better Business Bureau include reports of comments with racist, homophobic, sexist, and some downright mean content.

“On Jan. 24, 2019 a post was made that reads **** You, die in a hole.” Using the contact information on the site I have emailed the company so many times I’ve lost count, asking that the post be taken down as I feel threatened by it,” reported one teacher. RMT’s sister site, Rate My Professor, came under fire recently for it’s “hotness” option, or rating teachers for their looks.

Despite appealing to a younger audience, it seems RMT wasn’t able to escape sexist commentary, “I flagged a seriously misogynistic comment…They NEVER removed it,” Claimed a female educator. As comments such as these seemed to get more intense, school administrations across the country claimed RMT was promoting slander as well as a cyberbully culture amongst students which is likely why the company turned over as they feared a lawsuit.

Rate My Teacher stated on their website, “You loved or loathed Mr. X? Great, but neither of those feelings is useful to the next person. We’ll let something nice slip by in context, but we will not let a negative personal comment through. The Internet is forever, and if you have a genuine personal conflict with a teacher, RMT is not the venue to air a grievance. Being critical while being constructive is an important life skill,” claimed RMT officials. While hate speech is a serious issue, students who use RMT for far more moderate reasons are frustrated by the inability to make real comments post renovations.

“I don’t think the comments are always intentionally to harm the teachers. I mean sometimes it’s venting but most times I think people are just trying to give perspective,” said Senior Bella Macakanja.

Aimed now towards a younger demographic with squeaky clean illustrations and “humorous” content, many students feel like they’ve lost the forum that enables the new wave of students to get the information they wish they had had when it comes to a specific class. All the students interviewed for this issue stressed that they used RMT to give them a sense of both teaching style and work load, not to bully their teacher.

“I want the old one back. As a student it’s helpful to know what you’re getting into,” said Senior Erin Donohue.

Many felt especially bewildered upon the return of school this year, as they had nothing to cross-check their schedule with RMT’s final advice to reviewers?

“Whether you have something positive or negative to say, do it in a constructive way where it’s not about the teacher but about the process. Remember, we don’t post your name by your comment, but we do require you to have an account to leave one…you’re anonymous to those that read the post but not to us.”