RATE MY TEACHERS -- Several of the Transition Year students we taught in a week-long Schoolworks program understood that a database drove the results behind RateMyTeachers.ie and all of them knew there were issues about the site. Specifically, many teachers don't like the idea that they were being rated anonymously with the results published on the internet. There are data protection issues at the core of the site, which will leads to questions about its sustainability. The site is based on a stateside model with administrative support that promises to "We respond to subpoenas, court orders or legal process." The data protection laws differ in the two countries. It's a similar issue that has floated around in some third level colleges when comments about lecturers appeared in threads on boards.ie. Comments from Rate My Teachers users have attracted comebacks from teachers using the RMT forum.
I think the site misses a golden opportunity for localised branding. It should be "Rate Me Teachers" if it's to be an authentic Irish site.
Teachers' unions in Ireland are up in arms about the site. They charge that it's creepy to think that someone can slag off a teacher on the web. Teacher Breda O'Brien uses her Irish Times column to claim the site "represents a kind of bullying, because it is using technology to render people vulnerable." At the time of her article, no teacher in her school at Dominican Convent, Muckross Park, Dublin, had been rated.
Breda O'Brien -- "Time for parents to condemn online teacher rating" in The Irish Times, March 22, 2005.
Ciaran -- "Rate My Teacher"
RMT Forum -- "Do you think teachers would get mad at RMT?"