Should Students Get to Grade Their Teachers?

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Neely Burns, Editor in Chief

Have you ever had a teacher so insufferable that you have considered dropping the class? Or have you had teachers so wonderful that you are sad when the class ends? Students are around their teachers just about every day, sometimes even more than their families, so they tend to develop strong feelings towards them, whether good or bad. It is therefore natural that students wish they could possess a power which solely their teachers yield: the ability to grade teachers in the same way teachers grade them.

So, what is the argument in favor of students wielding this power? First, students would be more attentive in class. If students knew that they had a job to analyze the teaching skills of their teachers, they would surely pay more attention to these teachers, and they would thus learn more of the material by default. A more important reason for students to have the ability to grade teachers however is so that teachers have more reason to deliver a quality education. Just about any student you ask will attest that they have had at least one teacher who did not seem to care as much about teaching students as they did something else, which is simply not fair to students who get stuck with the teacher for a full year. Although administrators sometimes walk into classes to assess teachers themselves, teachers often adjust their behavior to seem more acceptable, thus giving the administrators an unfair assessment of the teacher’s skills. If students were able to grade their teachers year-round as they attend class, administrators could receive a more balanced assessment of their teachers skills, which could in turn result in teachers having more incentive to listen to their students’ concerns and adjust their teaching methods. On the flip side, teachers who go above and beyond at their jobs could know how much their students appreciate them, and they could continue to put in outstanding efforts for their students’ educations Thus, there are a myriad of reasons why students should wield the job of grading teachers.

Despite the reasons in favor of grading teachers, there is an equally important reason against this ability: people lie. Although many students would likely tell the truth about their teachers, good or bad, just as many students would lie about a teacher in the hopes for some sort of a reaction. Whether it be because they enjoy a teacher who gave no homework or because they hated a teacher who gave them a failing grade on a test they didn’t study for, there are plentiful reasons why a student may lie about a teacher. This combined with the fact that different people get along with teachers differently would entirely skew the results from any sort of grading system that could be implemented.

Thus, although students grading teachers is a great idea conceptually, students’ propensity for lying makes it unrealistic in the end.