Some teachers in Australia want to sue and shut down a site that allows students to give them ratings and post comments about their work.
The only problem is, the site (the article doesn’t name it but it’s probably RateMyTeacher) is based in the United States.
Some examples of the comments that have school staff calling in the lawyers.
One Sydney principal, who is given a score of 1.7 out of five for “overall quality”, is described as rude, condescending, pompous and arrogant.
“Who could allow someone like her to run a school? … [she] is a terrible principal. She is a bully who does not care about the students or the school’s wellbeing, but rather how they appear to the outside world.”
One maths teacher at a Sydney school is described as being unable to control a class or spell.
“He can’t teach at all and going to his class is like having an unofficial free period. He can’t control the class to save his life and his teaching is repetitive and boring. Yet he labours on and you have to wonder why.”
The government has, of course, blocked access to the site in schools but the local teachers union still wants to take legal action against “scurrilous American websites”.
None of this is very nice for the educators involved, of course, but does any of that rise to the level of “defamation”? Maybe the remarks made by the students should trigger some reflection of their own practice.
And wouldn’t this be a great teaching opportunity to discuss with students the responsibility that goes with freedom of speech, especially online?