Followed a link out of my Referers section of my blog to find a link and some comments posted on the somewhat controversial website, RateYourTeacher.com on my recent post about Social Networking In The Media. The forum post there highlighted a minor paragraph of mine late in the post that linked to the Advertiser article and interestingly thought that the tone of both the article and my blog was one of anger. I can't speak for the journalist responsible for the newspaper article but that observation could not be more wrong. I'm not a fan of RMT because I just don't think it's important or contributing anything meaningful to the school community. It is, as Stu artfully pointed out, the cyberspace version of graffiti on the school toilet walls complete with bad spelling and barely moderated observations.
It reminds me all too much of the Year 4 student I taught 15 years ago in Port Augusta who was dobbed in by his classmates for drawing on the toilet wall. I escorted him to view the offending phrase, "Schloo sux!"
He took one look at me and said with a deadpan face, "It couldn't have been me - I don't know how to spell school."
If I was to take this website seriously, then a couple of things would have to change - (a) if this is truly a service to the community, then lose the ads. That would remove the accusation that is just a front for advertising, preying on disgruntled students and parents. (b) Innovative websites deserve innovative structure - surely RMT would be more credible if it wasn't using a tired old forum based formula.
I would just finish with the point that the vast majority of teachers actually take negative criticism very personally. Comments that insinuate incompetence, insensitivity and callousness cut deep to the heart, whether they come via an angry parent at a face to face meeting, a vindictive letter to the principal or an anonymous post on a website. I personally have lost sleep, mulled in my mind over and over again where I might have gone wrong or speculated the reasons why someone seems to have it in for me whenever I've experienced the above. I acknowledge that I've had times in my life when the emotions are running high, that I'd love to tell someone "what I really think" in no uncertain terms. I also acknowledge that the power structures within most schools and classrooms don't allow for students to point out the shortcomings of and disregard from their teacher/s that they might encounter. So while I don't bear any hate or anger towards RMT, I just don't see the point of its existence.