Wednesday, April 10, 2013

If this is self-selection, I'm all for it

In my current job, it's so rare to encounter entitled, snobbish, self-impressed students that when I do I find myself running to tell my colleagues about this horrifying thing that just happened.

And then I remember: oh, yeah. That's a thing. A thing I almost never have to deal with.

There's lots to love about my job, but the sheer niceness of my students--including the smartest and most talented among them--has to be reason #1.


Fie upon this quiet life! said...

My students are mostly nice, too. I have one that is such an entitled little prick, though. Man, that kids makes Shakespeare hell, which is sad, since that's my field and I only get to teach that class every other year. Sad face!

Like you, I need to focus on the fact that most of my students are truly fantastic as far as being nice and respectful and sincerely trying much of the time. That one kid sure makes it tough, though. You have my sympathies.

Susan said...

My students are nice too -- we tell job candidates that we all like our students, and that one thing we like is that they have no sense of entitlement. I was truly shocked last semester when a student wrote me (after his final paper was turned in) to say he wanted a B. As it turned out, he had not earned one...

Spanish prof said...

My students are really nice, too. I love Catholic education! (and I am an agnostic Jew)

B in VA said...

Amen! This is definitely one of the pleasures of teaching at a public, regional campus. On the other hand, it sometimes leaves us with the challenge of showing great students how "self-esteem, grounded on just and right / Well managed" can at times be an important life skill.

Thanks for the post!

Flavia said...


That's exactly right. And I realize that my "nice" might be misunderstood: I don't mean that my students don't have the full range of normal personalities, including quite spiky ones. But there's a striking modesty there, a readiness to learn new things and be pushed in new directions. This can have the downside that you mention--they're too modest about their own abilities!--but I love how open they are, how ready to be surprised or impressed. They haven't already made up theirs minds about who's worth listening to or what's worth learning.

Basically, being at RU means they're not about symbolic intellectual/cultural capital, just the real kind: they want to learn (or they don't), but they're not pluming themselves on going to RU, or on the fanciness of their prior education. So though I do have students who are fiercely proud of their bookishness or nerdiness or whatever, they'll let anyone into their ranks who also turns out to have smart things to say.

(I find this constantly refreshing and delightful. Maybe because I know I wasn't like that myself, at their age.)