I’m up to my painfully-throbbing sinuses in final papers right now, but a friend forwarded this report from The Chronicle of Higher Education about the gendered nature of student incivility towards their instructors.
When it comes to being rude, disrespectful, or abusive to their professors, students appear most likely to take aim at women, the young, and the inexperienced.
Bullies bully those they perceive to be “weak”? Check. Women, even those with stellar credentials, are regarded as less authoritative than men? Check. Granted, the results were self-reported, and there was no breakdown regarding of the race of teachers or students, the type of school (SLAC, land-grant college, Ivy league, etc.), or discipline.
I’ve been fairly fortunate where I teach; the students are eager to get good grades (and sometimes actually learn), and they’ve had the sort of privileged upbringings that means they mostly channel their aggression into pissing and moaning outside of class.
But I have, this year, dealt with crap I thought only happened in the first third of those “inspirational” movies about idealistic white teachers in minority, inner-city classrooms. Okay, it hasn’t been anything like that, but still. Students sleeping in class? I ignore it at the time, provided they’re not snoring, and drop them a note asking them to please stay home. Texting? You will get disinvited from my class, tout de suite. Talking? It varies. Last week I reprimanded the same student (a dude I will call “Dudent”) multiple times. Apparently, he didn’t hear me because he was yapping–loudly–to his deskmate. Finally:
DUDENT! I’ve asked you, I’ve told you. You don’t have to listen, but you do have to let others do so. Either be quiet or get out.
Maybe a little harsh. At least I didn’t say “shut the fuck up.” I was sorely tempted.
Most of that sort of behavior is from dudes, as are the “Oh, my printer ran out of toner, can I email you my paper after class?” and “I totally misread the syllabus and thought that X was due next week” excuses. Women who blow deadlines might say “I misread the syllabus,” but offer that as part of an apology, which: okay? It’s not personal, and the policy is the same: no late papers will be accepted. Female students are generally more likely to grade-grub, but they don’t interrupt class. And we’re just scratching the surface of gender generalizations.
We’ve got a swath of educators among our readers: how does this study square with your experience?