Web site invites students around the nation to grade their teachers

It’s not just students earning grades anymore; now teachers also are subject to evaluation.

A Web site known as www.ratemyteachers.com allows students around the United States to rate their teachers’ performance online.

“It’s nice to know that we can now let our teachers know how we feel about them,” said Lawrence High School sophomore Stephanie Buckley.

The rules are strict: no profanity, no description of the teacher’s appearance, and no references to the teacher’s personal life. Violators have their e-mails booted from the list.

Teachers are rated with various face symbols: A happy face means good quality; a sad face means poor quality; and a happy face wearing sunglasses means popular.

“I think the Web site is interesting,” LHS Principal Steve Nilhas said. “But you have to be a little careful about how you take the feedback.”

For some teachers, the feedback comes as good news.

Debra Green, a mathematics teacher at Lawrence High School, is on the top of many students’ lists at the school.

“Mrs. Green is a great math teacher,” LHS junior Zaine Williams said.

For her part, Green appreciates the online comments.

“I have to say that I am very pleased,” said Green, who has taught at LHS for 28 years. “That is what makes teaching: when you know you have touched children’s lives.”

Not all students are sold on posting comments on the site.

“Kids could get on the Web site and say something really bad about a teacher, and then the teacher will have an ongoing conflict with that student,” Buckley said.

Nilhas urged caution about using the site.

“I logged onto the Web site the other day,” Nilhas said. “I looked at some of the posted messages from the students, and I don’t know how much quality control comes with the Web site. It just allows students to have a free shot to say whatever they want about anybody.”

Ratemyteachers.com is not unique. Web sites such as www.ratemyprofessors.com allow students entering college to learn more about what to expect from various professors.