“Inspirational,” “caring” and “respected,” are a few of the top 20 tags students used to describe John Bartelt, professor of education technology, helping him rank No. 9 Best Professor on the Rate My Professors website, which features the ratings of 1.7 million professors and more than 19 million reviews.
The nearly 20-year-old site allows students to write reviews anonymously about professors at colleges and universities across the nation and rate their overall teaching quality and level of difficulty from 1-5.
Users can also add whether they would take a class with that professor again, strictness of attendance policies and how often they used the textbook.
Of the 80 students that rated John Bartelt, 100 percent said they would take a class with him again. He has an overall quality rating of 5.0 and an average difficulty level of 2.1, according to the website.
“It means a lot only because it comes from students,” Bartelt said.
The students are the ones who create their environment and we facilitate, Bartelt said.
“You provide the environment, then you create safety within it with affirmations of self,” said Linda Bartelt, John Bartelt’s wife, who co-teaches education technology and human sexuality with John Bartelt.
“Learning is not only about holding students to a higher standard,” John Bartelt said. “It’s more effective to nurture people into this.”
John Bartelt has co-taught all of his classes with his wife, Linda Bartelt, for two years.
“Teaching with her rekindled my passion for teaching,” John Bartelt said. “I get why people don’t co-teach, you get half pay, but it is so worth it.”
John Bartelt said the subject matter they teach is heartfelt and emotional, which makes it easier to crack the heart open.
He is often the first to reach for the tissue box and start personal story-sharing in class.
“He gives people permission to be in touch with buried emotions,” Linda Bartelt said.
Linda Bartelt added that students know that John Bartelt means what he says and cares about them. She added that he once got a call from a student at 2 a.m. and left the house to be with that student.
The Bartelts used to have students over their home. Once a lesbian couple asked if they could come back because it was the first time they felt normal together in a social gathering, the Bartelts said.
Diana Porter, a past student of their child development class at Citrus College, named her daughter, Linda Johanse Porter, after the couple.
“He goes out of his way to make sure people understand the gifts that I bring, which isn’t necessary,” Linda Bartelt said. “We facilitate it well together but he would be able to do it without me.”
Alumna Naomi Grant, who graduated spring 2017 with a bachelor of science in biology, took John Bartelt’s Human Sexuality class during January term 2015, the end of his time as a solo professor.
“I thought it was going to be lame and boring, but he brought it to life,” Grant said. “He made me more aware of who I am.”
Grant, who is a patient attendant at South Coast Global Medical Center in Santa Ana, said she remembers John Bartelt always telling the class to explore themselves sexually.
She completed an extra credit assignment – visiting a sex toy store – which shows his encouragement for students to learn about their own bodies before sharing them with others.
Senior photography major Cortney Mace is currently in the Bartelts’ human sexuality class and said it has made her a better person – unlike any class she has taken before.
“Ive learned so much about myself,” Mace said. “Its okay to talk about how you feel….You can’t hold yourself accountable for others’ actions because they don’t determine your worth.”
John Bartelt sends every class off with a lifelong homework assignment: “Put as much love in the world as you can, starting with yourself.”
Tyler Evains can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.