Professor Reviews: Balm and Bane of Teachers

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So, is your professor five stars or zero? That’s how some professor reviews are set up online for students to use and honestly review their instructors and their overall performance in the classroom. Students may lavish praise on their favorite teachers and pour scorn on the instructors they loath for all the essays they assigned. Professor reviews can be a force for good or evil. How will you use it?

Pros for the Pros

Professor reviews are for the students. Who wants to spend the rest of the semester with a teacher you hate? University of Florida senior Juliana Schmidt is a veteran at these reviews. “Yes, I’ve written professor reviews—typically when they offer extra credit or when [they’re] either terrible or great enough that I felt they deserved my input,” said Schmitz. Innocent freshmen: Don’t feel overwhelmed when stepping into the labyrinth of classes. Find websites like Rate My Professor and listen to the seasoned seniors to find out which teachers are worth your time and money.

Shortcomings for the Class that Came Up Short

Professor reviews don’t tell the whole story. Every student’s experience of a class and professor varies from student to student, and that reflects on teacher reviews. The majority of the time, students aren’t obligated to write instructor reviews, so the reviews tend to fall on either the far right or far left of the spectrum. Most classes say “I loved this class and prof” or “This class was hell and my teacher was the devil.” Keep an open mind as you read the reviews and take it all with a pinch of caution.

Spreading Knowledge

Some people argue that professor reviews aren’t necessary, and we should feel glad just to attend college. We spend time on these classes, so if we have something to say to future students then we should set the record straight for them. “The [professor reviews] gave me a sense of satisfaction as far as rewarding professors who were very interactive and informative, as well as giving me some twisted feeling of revenge against the neglectful ones,” UF sophomore Brad Pace said. Hey, if we’re going to cough $1,000 for each class, we have the right to know that our teacher is actually a good teacher. Let them earn those glowing reviews.

Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold

The most colorful reviews stem from revenge. Maybe a professor gave a bad grade or maybe the teacher really is a jerk out to get students and destroy lives. Whatever the case, students can use professor reviews to the advantage and the disadvantage of their instructors. Instructors likely feel pressured in their careers because of the added dilemma that one move done out of professional concern for their student could turn into a scathing review online about them and their overall performance—just don’t mix vengeance and justice together.

Level Up, Pokemon Style!

What about difficulty? Or interest in the subject? Some students sign up for physics, chemistry and biology, but I’m not Einstein. The truth is, as an English major, I’m not going to put tons of effort in classes that aren’t geared towards my degree, but I still need a well rounded education to graduate. “Yes, they have helped me; I feel like I have gotten an easier professor before due to reading reviews, or been prepared for one that I didn’t have a choice or whether or not I could take someone else,” said Schmidt. Professor reviews provide a glimpse in to the classroom, check their potential professors, level of difficulty they have in class, and how much they expect you to work.

Two Worlds Collide, Crash and Burn

Professor reviews help students choose the best class and instructors in order to get the best out of the education. They’re not meant to give a free pass to be lazy and not push yourself. Unfortunately, some students go online and read professor reviews in order to find the easiest courses that require the least amount of effort. It isn’t because they already feel packed with other challenging classes or they plan to take it easier this semester due to health reasons, just sheer indifference. Imagine how a professor leading an easy class feels knowing that a student enrolls in their course and barely makes an effort to do well. Yeah, ouch.

Chemistry, Chemistry, Chemistry

Not the subject, but the issue of compatibility. If you’re a student who prefers laid-back professors more open to befriending their students, look it up on a professor review. If you want to be challenged by instructors who will put you through hell and turn you into an expert at your chosen field, professor reviews are a step in the right direction.

Rocio Cosme is a sophomore majoring in English at University of Florida. She enjoys reading, writing, singing, crushing over fictional boys in her favorite books, and free hugs.

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