I'm growing increasingly frustrated with the entering freshman classes here at my university. The lack of respect, the lack of courtesy, the presumption that they own ALL of my time, not taking responsibility for their own education, not writing down assignments, continually asking what's due when, asking what did they miss when they were gone...

I love the transformation that occurs during the 1st year of college. I enjoy being part of that process, and since I am a younger professor, I have a soft spot for these young people. But the assumptions they make are just so aggravating.

I gave an exam on Monday which 2 students missed. One student missed because "she felt a little sick" and wanted to know when she could make it up. (She talked to me Tuesday.) I didn't give the other student an opportunity to explain herself because she was silly enough to ask DURING class if she could make up her exam. Unfortunately, that put me in the position of having to "make an example" of these folks. I told them to look at my syllabus - it's pretty CLEAR what constitutes an excused absence from an exam.

I'm so frustrated and am perhaps starting to lose my enthusiasm for this age group. Any advice?

Wow, what an uplifting first post from me, eh?

Views: 32

Comment by Mobbsey on October 2, 2008 at 3:22am
I teach high school students and I hear exactly what you're getting frustrated at. I'm in the middle of a book at the moment called "The 'New' Rules of Engagement: A Guide to Understanding and Connecting ..." by Michael McQueen. It's an Australian book (I'm in Oz) but I think you'd find it incredibly relevant to what you're finding frustrating here. Hubby and I are both teachers and we're finding it eye-opening and very revealing in the way it talks about the different generations' expectations and beliefs - and the ways we can deal with those.

I've included the link to their online store above, but if you want to talk more about it flick me an email (mobbsey.ed@gmail.com) or jump on skype (nic.mobbs) or msn (shioned1@hotmail.com).

~Nic
Comment by David Wees on October 4, 2008 at 6:00am
It's a steep learning curve between high school and college. There's a reason such a high percentage of 1st year students don't become 2nd year students (at least at the same institution). I remember at least 3 of the 12 people who went from my high school to the same city for college didn't make it.
Comment by Kelley Irish on October 4, 2008 at 9:50am
In College as a Professor you have the power to say," Hey you all had the syllabus.. I am sorry no make-ups".
As a middle school teacher and even most High School teachers would have parents and principals on their doorstep Demanding that their child could retake-makeup whatever they missed. Last year after I had emailed a parent a project wasn't turned in by a child, left a phone message-all with no response-I gave the student a 0 and averages it into his grade. When the report card came out I had a very T_off parent DEMANDING a confernece with me and principal. Thankfully I had documented all my attempts. Even after all that the orincipal told me I had to allwo the student to make up the project for 1/2 credit.

So I apologize we are sending them to you this way-but unfortunately we are being forced to allow the students to feel entitled.
Comment by Kimberly James on October 4, 2008 at 4:40pm
Good points, all of you. Thanks for your input - a number of us working with this freshman class have observed the same thing.
Comment by TJ Fletcher on October 8, 2008 at 8:41pm
I don't know...I taught high school for eleven years before stepping out of the classroom to take an Education Technology Coordinator position (training teachers now)...and, I think it just comes down to making your expectations clear (and reasonable) and sticking to them (like Rachel says above). Students will always try to push you to the edge of your boundaries to see how far they can go...but, each and every one of them also wants you to HAVE boundaries. Same thing is true about discipline...but, I also always felt good classroom management took care of a lot of discipline "issues". It's true that we have a generation of students that appear apathetic, and some of that has been brought about by the "helicopter parent". I've heard several profs talk about getting calls from parents regarding their son/daughter's collegework...or even showing up during office hours to discuss their grade on an exam. I mean, c'mon...who does that at the college level?! We've got some parents that can't let go out there...they've grown with their children sometimes having access to grades online, but almost always having access to students through cell phone. I've had juniors in high school walk out right after class and within seconds they are on the phone with mom or dad talking about a graded paper they just got back. I don't mind that one as much as the one who decides to text message mom/dad in the middle of class. Ugghh...I couldn't understand how the parent could have sent me an email requesting an after school conference so quickly...until I heard from one of her classmates that she was texting. Bottom line...set your boundaries, stick to your guns...find someone to dump your gripes on...and go on enjoying the better things in life! If you are fair and love what you are doing, students are going to love you...even if they don't always appreciate you.
Comment by TJ Fletcher on October 8, 2008 at 8:47pm
Ha...I just thought of something else to go along with your other comment about how "a number of us working with this freshman class..."

That's the "wave" of education...it goes in cycles. Talk to some of the older profs/teachers and you'll hear the same comments made. I'm sure that every generation has had a "this class"...it goes with the times and the expectations, and it's always subjective. Give it a three or four years, and you may be thinking this group of freshmen wasn't all that bad. ;)

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