• Quote of the Day
    "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered."
    Nelson Mandela, posted by Daniel

Elena

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First of all, Dr. Baxter, I hope you are fully recovered now, and hello to all of the wonderful people in this site.

In my last threads here I mentioned I was having some financial and job problems, well, I got to the worst point of all (I hope nothing worse comes), but now I have a stable job teaching some hours of English as a second language at a university. I have always been kind of afraid of teenagers and young adults -maybe because I felt unable to relate with them when I was that age myself. The point is that students seem to be so indifferent towards their learning and so childish in their behavior, e.g. they try to use their cell phones at class and eat and tell the partners the answers even though, they sign the school regulations and you tell them not to. Two of them even use raw language or make sexual remarks when asked to participate. This is a private university and some of my workmates tell me you cannot be strict with students because they complain about you and the school pampers them too much ($$$), I can understand the school needs to keep students and take care of income but there must be a way in between. I was raised in too strict an environment, my father was inflexible in many instances so I do not want to go to the other extreme. I live in a Latin American country and culture and behavior might differ but I've heard youngsters have the same attitude everywhere now. Thank you so much for the advice you can give me. :dimples: Elena
 

David Baxter

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I think it's important to understand that at the university level students see themselves as paying your salary with their fees, which is true.

Your job as a teacher/professor is to try to make the material as interesting as possible and to provide the students with information about the course curriculum. At that level, I don't believe that motivating them to learn is part of your job. Those who want to learn will learn; those who don't care will not learn. It's their choice. If certain students don't want to participate, try to focus on those who do. They'll get the benefits of your teaching and that's what really matters.

I guess what I'm saying is that by the time students get to university they can be expected to take responsibility for learning or not learning. Any university professor is really teaching solely to those who want to learn. It goes with the territory, as they say. In some classes, that may mean you are focusing on anywhere from 10% to 90% of the class.

On the other hand, if the behavior of certain students is disruptive or distracting either to you or to other students, you have both a right and a responsibility to ask them to desist.
 

ladylore

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In my last threads here I mentioned I was having some financial and job problems, well, I got to the worst point of all (I hope nothing worse comes), but now I have a stable job teaching some hours of English as a second language at a university. I have always been kind of afraid of teenagers and young adults -maybe because I felt unable to relate with them when I was that age myself. The point is that students seem to be so indifferent towards their learning and so childish in their behavior, e.g. they try to use their cell phones at class and eat and tell the partners the answers even though, they sign the school regulations and you tell them not to. Two of them even use raw language or make sexual remarks when asked to participate. This is a private university and some of my workmates tell me you cannot be strict with students because they complain about you and the school pampers them too much ($$$), I can understand the school needs to keep students and take care of income but there must be a way in between. I was raised in too strict an environment, my father was inflexible in many instances so I do not want to go to the other extreme. I live in a Latin American country and culture and behavior might differ but I've heard youngsters have the same attitude everywhere now. Thank you so much for the advice you can give me. :dimples: Elena


First off, congratulations on finding work. :)

I also need to let you know that I myself am not a mother so others on the site may be able to give you more concrete information about what to do.

What I can offer are a few suggestions you may want to consider.

Two of them even use raw language or make sexual remarks when asked to participate.

With this type of behaviour I find setting examples and boundaries are the best. No profanity or sexual remarks allowed. Period. If they want respect then they must respect others. Would they talk like that around there grandparents, for instance?

Kids need boundaries and it's their job to challenge them and its our job to enforce them, respectfully yet firmly.

You may even want to set some time aside so that the whole class can come up with guidelines everyone must follow - then its peer to peer. Evening having a discussion on how these comments actually effect others in the class, how do the others feel about it. Make it into a project.

Hope some of this helps :)

Ladylore
 

Daniel

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...tell the partners the answers even though, they sign the school regulations and you tell them not to.

Though that's obviously a problem when it comes to test time, that same desire to socialize can be a good thing for collaborative, project-based learning. George Lucus' educational foundation called Edutopia (directed towards K-12) really pushes project-based learning:

Expert Interviews | Edutopia
Bob Thurman Podcast: George Lucas Interview Part I
Bob Thurman Podcast: George Lucas Interview Part II

I don't know, however, how that may apply to your situation of teaching ESL at the college level.

What I appreciated in the first part of the George Lucas interview was the moderator, Professor Thurman, saying that being a university professor isn't as glamorous as people think since the students have been living in TV land all their lives.
 

Elena

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Thank you all very much for your replies :)

I understand what you say, Dr Baxter, about being my job to prepare a good class and give them information about the curriculum. I guess it's my ego that interferes when I feel guilty if they are uninterested, I feel insecure too. I know learning is their choice but I can´t help feeling they are wasting their opportunity and potential :mad: Am I bieng intrusive here?

I am not a mother either, Ladylore, am I maybe projecting the natural desire to pass knowledge and values to children in class? Or, as I say above, I am allowing my insecurity to interfere? Now I am a little confused. :confused: Hhhm.

Thank you, Daniel, for the material you recommend. I'll try to find it on line. It must be of help.

Hope you all have a great Sunday.

Elena and her cats:cat::cat::cat:
 

David Baxter

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I understand what you say, Dr Baxter, about being my job to prepare a good class and give them information about the curriculum. I guess it's my ego that interferes when I feel guilty if they are uninterested, I feel insecure too. I know learning is their choice but I can´t help feeling they are wasting their opportunity and potential Am I bieng intrusive here?

Some of them ARE wasting their time but that's really not your responsibility and not your problem. I do understand about the insecurity, especially for new teachers, but you'll soon learn that no matter how good you are or how hard you work there will always be some students who think you are the best teacher ever and some who think you are the worst. When I was teaching at the university levels, the (anonymous) student evaluations of my courses always seemed to span the whole range from "Terrible" to "Excellent", including comments that ranged from "Doesn't seem prepared for his lectures" to "The best prepared and organized professor I've seen" - and these were from students taking exactly the same classes.

Rick Nelson's song Garden Party from the 70s or 80s (just before his death) said this:

You can't please everyone
so you've got to please yourself​

Do the best job you can and recognize that some of the students will appreciate you and others won't.
 

Elena

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I get it, Dr. Baxter. Thank you so much!
Elena and her sleeping cutties :cat::cat::cat:
 

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