Illustration by Darlene Maes/Viking/@dawrlean

As the end of the LBCC school year and graduation on June 8 approaches, LBCC prepares for final exams, final assignments and projects due before the student’s final grade is achieved and submitted.
Most instructors grade students based on their assignments turned in, participation in class, attendance and how well they are prepared for tests and quizzes. But what if roles were reversed?
What if students graded each teacher after every semester? Or after every lecture? What is mind boggling is that students have somehow become entitled to “grade” their teachers.
Students have expanded their reviews from ratemyprofessors.com to Facebook and Twitter posts. Many factors go into teaching a course and to classify someone by the number of bullet points in their lecture, or the amount of homework they assign is illogical.
For example, the workload a film class requires is likely less than what math or biology might demand. Sometimes teachers do not need to make PowerPoint presentations as the textbook provides all the information. Sometimes they need to highlight sections in the text to guide a student’s focus.
Students shouldn’t have the right to pigeonhole their teachers because it may cause other students planning to take the class to have a preconception about the course. It’s nearly impossible to judge how well a teacher did or did not do during a semester without a biased opinion.
We see benefits to students grading their teachers. The site ratemyprofessors.com is a great tool for students to get an idea of what the teacher is like from students who have taken the course.
On the ratings site, students can essentially “grade” their teacher by adding a review and rating them. Another form of students voicing their opinions is through class evaluations.
An expression we’re all familiar with is everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Yes, that may be true, but when it comes to taking college courses, not everyone is going to be completely satisfied. Something we forget is that with each word we post, we have the power over a teacher’s reputation.
It’s bad enough that social media makes it easier for students to roast their instructor on a day-to-day basis. Classes can be filled before the semester even begins with a positive review or contribute to the fear teachers have of being replaced or fired because they have a “low” rating.
Instead of giving students the liberty to write about the reasons why they liked or did not like a particular teacher, they should have pre-filled boxes with statements that asks if certain criteria were met.
Teachers want their students to succeed and the students need the teacher’s help to succeed. In college, whether it feels like it or not, we’re all on the same team and we all desire the same outcome. Education is not a reality TV show where teachers are graded based on ratings. They should be based on their academic knowledge and their ability to teach.