Today my student was not paying attention to my lesson. He just slacked off and gave a fit. I can't call the administration (It's a private College School). I have asked him nicely several times to comply with what we are doing. But he won't listen and/or do the work. Yet his parents bribe some of his Professors to give him an A. And some Professors actually agree. What should i Do? Give him more work to do? a signature from parents?

  • Are you teaching at high-school? – user2768 Nov 6 '18 at 16:21
  • College Sorry @user2768 – Brody Nov 6 '18 at 16:24

Why can you not call the administration? If it's a private school, are they not able to remove students from classes?

If the student is just not paying attention, I'd say you just let him be. It's college. It's his (parents') money. Let it go to waste. Teach the students who are there to learn. Your job as a college professor is not to wipe runny noses of students who do not want to be there. When we focus too much on the students who do not want to participate, we usually end up neglecting the students who do want to be there.

If the student is being disruptive, document and report. What is the administration there for if not to handle such administrative issues?

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For your career health, three things I'd suggest:

  • Be compassionate
  • Develop a teaching philosophy
  • Figuratively, if you see someone insisting killing himself by jumping into a well, try to rescue; if he refuses, keep rescuing. And most importantly, don't throw rocks into the well even though you're pretty certain that he'd die anyway.

When it comes to students underperforming or misbehaving, never start with blaming. Try to be in their shoes and try to be their advocate, at least at the beginning. While it's true that he was unprofessional, there could be other reasons behind his lack of interest that you might actually find reasonable. If it's only today, it may also be an isolated incidence. So, keep communicating, keep caring, the worst you can say is "I tried."

A teaching philosophy is a 1-2 pager that lay out your directions, aspirations, overall method to become a teacher you want to be. Search online for ample amount of examples. From your question, I think you need one. First, compassion seems to be lacking as you quickly put yourself automatically in adversity with the student; second, you factored in the student's parents' immoral behaviors into the student's own account, unfairly judging him beyond what your course syllabus would have defined; third, faced by a student who is disinterested in learning, the corrective methods you could come up with is: give him more works. None of these made sense. I think if you have put good thought into the philosophy statement and established a general "professional protocol," you'll have a better idea on what's the most suitable action.

When making pedagogical decisions like this, think: basing on my philosophy and my syllabus, is what I am doing justifiable if shit hits the fan? If he decides not to put in the effort, and you decided to give him more works, what would you say to the Dean when he/she asks you to explain your action? I am not saying you probably can't, I am saying you should be prepared. If your student has made a decision to not study, accelerating his failing trajectory by giving more works, to me, is akin to throwing rock to a drowning person in the well. Not that you are the killer, but your action is not justifiable.

I hope these few points can help. Remember to build more bridges, fewer walls. Talk to him, help him, don't openly humiliate him, treat him like an adult.

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Before resorting to Vladhagen's solution you might try to learn whether there is a reason for the misbehavior. The student may have a medical (physical or mental) condition that leads to this sort of behavior. The administration or counseling center may know something, though you may need permission to get any information from them. If the student is local you might want to talk to the parents if they are available. Former teachers might also be able to give you some insight into what is going on and especially into what triggers the behavior.

If you get get a reason for the behavior, you might be able to design a solution.

While you have a responsibility to try to teach every student, the student is free to reject your efforts and you may just have to let him fall by the wayside.

Some misbehaving students are just bored, of course. If that is the case here, then giving him something more interesting to do might help. I was that way in elementary school, but "woke up" by the end of high school and did well thereafter. But quite a few of my teachers weren't well pleased with me.

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