Disrespect in the Classroom

Dr. Crazy writes a post on dealing with disrespect from students, whether from individuals or a group. Her main point is that male professors come across blatant disrespect in the classroom more occasionally, while for women it’s more like a predictable, quarterly grind.

Both the post and comments include testimony on kinds of in-class disrespect and ways of addressing it. As usual, I appreciate Crazy’s hard-earned judgments. In her experience, calling the behavior out explicitly and rejecting it as inappropriate is the only way to nip it in the bud, whereas a policy of appeasement ends up serving nobody.

Go read the post and comments if the subject is of interest, whether you are a teacher or student.

What sorts of disrespect have you seen in the classroom—anything from teacher-directed stuff like challenging the syllabus, to killing one’s peer’s right to a collaborative classroom by refusing to engage the material in discussion? Any stories, with or without resolutions?

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4 Responses

  1. I’ve had seminarians, with phd’s in other fields tell me that they weren’t going to do the homework I assigned, because they were too busy, and reflecting on their reading was a waste of time — after all — they know how to teach in their field — and would never assign a reflection paper. And would not bother to listen to my pointing out the difference between science/technical & religion. And then when the same person only got the final exam half right, was annoyed to not get an “A” and frowned when I explained that it was only due to grace, it wasn’t an “F”

  2. ALL THE TIME. So reassuring to read Dr Crazy’s blog…
    The psychologist who works at our school regularly asks the women profs (esp the ones under 50) at the beginning of the year — “So… are the students telling you how to do your job yet?”

  3. A student came to me the other day and told me she thought I was taking too many questions during a time when I should just be lecturing. Whether or not she had a point was not the point – fact is, she felt just fine walking up to me and telling me how I could do my job better. sigh….
    I really like to be interactive with students – but it seems like it just cracks open cans of worms.. any thoughts?

  4. In my short time teaching I have come to the simple, yet helpful realization that I will never please everyone. Some may like the interaction, others will despise it. Some may like rote lecture, others will not. Those who want to come with me will and those who don’t, won’t. I can only do so much. I don’t actively try to leave them behind, but I also can’t cater only to those who opt not to follow.

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