How to Write a Comment That Gets Posted at RMT

How to Write a Comment That Gets Posted at RMT

Here is the two-prong rule we use in determining whether to post a comment:

1. It’s not personal to the teacher. You loved or loathed Mr. X? Great, but neither of those feelings is useful to the next person. We’ll let something nice slip by in context, but we will not let a negative personal comment through. The Internet is forever, and if you have a genuine personal conflict with a teacher, RMT is not the venue to air a grievance. Being critical while being constructive is an important life skill.

2. The next student will find something actionable in the comment. Tell them something they can plan for. Whether you have something positive or negative to say, do it in a constructive way where it’s not about the teacher but about the process.

Remember, we don’t post your name by your comment, but we do require you to have an account to leave one.

Here are some examples (some of these are slightly altered actual comments):

Mr. Smith is the best! He truly loves what he does and makes it fun. He’s extremely helpful and funny, so it’s always interesting. He relies a lot on mnemonic devices so it’s easy to remember important things. He’s also great at explaining things. I highly recommend the textbook reading, but even if you don’t understand it all immediately, he’s great with clarification and lecturing!

The first two sentences, if stopped there, would just be a compliment. Nice, but not post-worthy. Remember, you can always rate your experience as “excellent” in the survey. It’s the second and last sentence that tell another student something they can use. Result: comment posted.

This was my first AP class, so I wish I had been more prepared for how much the class was about cause/effect and application rather than memorization. After taking four years worth of AP classes, I can now say the workload is that of your typical AP class, but at the time it was hard to adapt, so I’d say just be prepared and don’t procrastinate!

This is the kind of comment that will ultimately make the reviews better. Nothing personal at all, tells the reader about what to expect, and provides a word of awareness of how to approach the class. Genuinely helpful to the next student. Result: comment posted.

Mrs. Jones is one of the worst teachers ever. She would never help you and if you ask for help she would say “IM NOT HELPING YOU, LOOK AT YOUR NOTES” and yet sometimes people don’t really find notes helpful. She also has frequent mood swings at people that do something wrong or forget to do something. She doesn’t give anyone a chance. As hard as school is she makes it harder with being so rude and not a dedicated teacher and it makes school so much worse!

Maybe the student learns differently than the teacher teaches, or maybe it was something else, but the student’s frustration is clear. This is the kind of comment where we would see complaints from both sides. Result: not posted.

Most teachers are okay with criticism if it doesn’t attack them personally. Since RMT is about students helping students, this could be re-worded: “you’ll need to rely on yourself a lot, as there is not a lot of extra help, and stay on top of things to avoid hassles.” It would say the same thing, give the next student a heads-up, and depersonalize the comment.

In this case, in the new survey the student could have given the teacher a “Poor” rating for their overall experience.

Mr. Smith is a great teacher, I had him for history. He knows how to make class fun but still be able to teach. He doesn’t assign much HW, and I am looking forward to have him again.

While the first part of the comment is complimentary, it doesn’t help (“great” means different things to different students). But the part about homework tells an incoming student something worth knowing. Also, there’s nothing really personal in the comment. Result: comment posted.

She is disorganized and unclear and doesn’t teach half of the material in class. She spends the majority of classes talking about irrelevant things and once wasted the first 20 minutes of a test period.

Just assume for a moment that everything in the comment is true. What does the next student do with that information? Result: not posted. If the reviewer had instead written: “I wish I’d known to double-check with her and study more outside of class since a lot of the material on the test wasn’t reviewed in class,” that would have been super-helpful and readily posted.

Good teacher, but really boring and kind of a bully. Likes to point out students who don’t magically understand the material after one explanation and poke fun at them. 

This student could seems to have enough experience to have written a helpful comment, but instead what comes out is just name calling. Result: not posted.

Bottom line: imagine you’re writing to another student who asks you what to expect in a class, but you can’t say the teacher is either amazing or lousy, and you have to phrase it in terms of what they can do to best get through the class.

The more great responses that accumulate, the more the teachers can learn about where they’re succeeding and where they can grow. Everyone can benefit from constructive feedback, but how we approach things makes all the difference in the world in how it is received.