David said he has posted positive comments about teachers online, like: "Furhman was a great teacher! Thanks to her, I'm involved in Science Bowl, and all of the Earth Science stuff has been immeasurably beneficial to Science Bowl."
The site can help teachers, he said, adding, "If they're hurt by it, instead of shunning the site, they can work to improve." Arcadia High School photography teacher Robert Ilgenfritz, 45, has only smiley faces under his name. Students have posted notes such as: "coolest teacher at AHS! Very spiritual and interesting ... fun to talk to."
Ilgenfritz said he is flattered by the compliments, especially because he avoids talking down to students or being too stern. But he tries not to take them too seriously.
"It's a two-sided sword," he said. "Some people could argue that if the kids like you too much, then you're too easy on them."
He added that he has the advantage of teaching an elective that most students consider fun. Instructors who teach Advanced Placement classes or more complicated subjects may get lower ratings because they have to be tougher on students, he said.
Furlong of Glendale High said she has looked up comments about her colleagues and noticed that those who teach students at higher grade levels usually receive higher ratings in the postings, which often say "intelligent things."
"Now I only have all ninth-graders, the toughest," she said. "They are really immature kids who haven't even learned to sit still yet." It's hard, she said, because teaching is "my whole life." This year is more stressful than ever, she said, because she has taken on more classes with fewer resources because of budget cuts. "It's not worth all the stress and negative comments," she said.