I feel like teachers act as unique targets for constant evaluation by everyone they interact with. I’ve told near strangers that I teach, and they usually give me some form of apology. It’s an instant evaluation of my career and interests and a judgment that I must be suffering for them. I’ve seen the course evaluations from my students, and that’s a different, but no less interesting, form of judging my worth. I’m lucky that almost all of my students seemingly either liked my class or liked me because I’ve had a lot of really nice reviews. Either that or the students who don’t like me are so glad to be rid of me that they don’t want to take the time to ever think of me or my class again.
I’m used to course evaluations. I actually kind of like them because it’s neat to see if everyone liked the class as much as I did. However, something I don’t think I’ll ever get used to is Rate my Professor, the online portal to teacher judgment that lets students publicly declare if they thought the class was easy, if there was a lot of homework, or if the teacher was any good, among other things. It also lets students rank how hot their teacher is.
And it uses fucking chili peppers as the unit of measurement.
I don’t mind that anyone who knows my name can find out what my students think of me. All the reviews there are actually really nice and make me sound way more kind and competent than I think I am. It’s the pepper that gets me. Why is it there? Why is that a feature of the website? Why is hotness something that matters in picking a teacher? I should be as appealing to students shopping for teachers if I had a face like a shredded loaf of ham and the body of a goblin. But that fucking pepper lends importance to something that I don’t even want students considering. Because it gives students the option to On merit of being something that students can factor into their decision, suddenly picking one over the other factors into the overall decision a student makes when they’re picking a class. That’s like being presented with two really fantastic looking sandwiches, both have all your desired sandwich traits but maybe they accomplish them differently. Maybe one has different sauce or bread, but you love everything on both of them even though they’re different. But one of the sandwiches is on a plate that has a picture of someone you think is sexy. Even though you have as much chance of fucking that plate as you do your teacher, you still end up picking the sandwich on the sexy plate when, if there was no sexy plate, maybe you would have done some more research and noticed one of the sandwiches has pickles or gives more homework than you want to do, but you picked that sandwich anyway because you’re fantasizing about a plate.
And another thing! I don’t want my students thinking of me as someone who can even be considered hot. I want them to listen to me, learn to write, and get better at thinking, and nevernk of me as anything more than the dorky facilitator of all that. I should be totally replaceable with a snarky fire hydrant so long as it knows how to teach. But a fire hydrant wouldn’t be hot.
I don’t really have anything else to say. I’ve been stewing over this chili pepper for months now, but it’s not going away. I even had students hold me hostage using my rating there. They threatened to write terrible reviews if I didn’t let them out early, so I let them out about 6 seconds before our class normally ended, and now there’s a lot of silly but sweet reviews there. But that fucking chili pepper is soiling them all.