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Bothersome Student--Very Long Rant Caution

November 1st, 2017 at 10:34 am

As I start to write this, I can see my tag of "bothersome" doesn't even begin to describe the deep distaste I have for this student. And I feel bad talking about not liking students because I genuinely enjoy about 90 percent of them. But here goes.

On the first day of class this young woman announced she wasn't sure why she had to take my class since she already knew all the material. My class is a requirement for Business majors. Nothing I can do about it. Since then she has been rude to other students, arrives late, leaves early, has been cautioned about her phone use half a dozen times, is consistently rude to me both in person and via e-mail. For weeks I've been simmering with anger but have managed to keep it under control. My class has also turned against her. Her presentation partner dropped the class. She is smart enough. Her work is good, but her rudeness is so offensive that I'm continually having to swallow my anger. Since her presentation partner left, I struggled to find her another partner, and offered extra credit to students who volunteered. While she clearly prefers to work alone, she insisted I find her a partner since she felt I was unfairly penalizing her for her partner dropping. In fact, the part of the presentation she turned in was mediocre, and the opportunity to re-do was perhaps an unwarranted favor. Last night I offered her three options: Stand with the grade, re-do it herself, re-do it with a partner. After initially saying she wanted a partner, she said to her classmate's face--If I have to work with him, I'll do it myself. Now she e-mails me and demands extra credit for taking on the project herself. I refuse saying it was her option in the first place. She e-mails again saying she found my comments offensive. I have six lovely weeks of this creature in my class. I'm honestly not quite sure what to do. Thanks for listening. Send zen waves of patience my way.

10 Responses to “Bothersome Student--Very Long Rant Caution”

  1. laura Says:

    Matthew 5:9 > Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.

    There will ultimately always be "one" - the one that is difficult, obstinate, self-righteous, borderline "evil" in situations. I'm sorry that you have found yourself with that "one" at this time. Does her behavior warrant a talk with her counselor? It's your class: I'd strip the options, tell her what she NEEDS to do, or advise she drop your class. And save the paper trail in the event you need to cover yourself.

    I wish it was easier. Hang in there. Smile

  2. Rachael777 Says:

    I echo Laura. Sending support.. I would talk to a higher up though for recommendations and document

  3. My English Castle Says:

    Thanks, pals. I have a big file on this already. Going to my undergrad chair tomorrow for moral support. University policy classifies this behavior as discourteous but not disruptive. But doesn't ten discourtesies add up to a disruptive. Sigh.

  4. Joe Says:

    Why do you allow cell phone use in class? My daughter is a Junior in college - cell phone use is not allowed in class. Final grade is lowered one third of a grade for each violation - no exceptions.

  5. My English Castle Says:

    I do NOT allow cell phones in class--and I've called this student on it six times. But she still does it.

  6. laura Says:


    My daughter got called out on cell phone use once this past summer. She happened to be in class with her brother/my son who reported that she was appropriately apologetic and mortified. She was finalizing details for a shoot the next day, but apparently never used the phone again.

    Sounds like a major dose of self-entitlement you're dealing with. So sorry! Ugh!

  7. MonkeyMama Says:

    She sounds like a peach!

  8. PatientSaver Says:

    Unpleasant as it may be, it sounds like you need to have a one on one, in-person talk with her, clearly spelling out the requirements of the course, including NO cell phone use. Let her know you won't tolerate her disrespect, and be prepared to outline item by item, the many ways she is disrespectful.

    If you can't just get rid of her yourself, I think you owe it to the rest of your students to lay down the law, and if she doesn't like it, hopefully she will just drop out on her own. You need to be firm with her and the other students will only respect you more for it. They don't need the distractions or the bad karma in class.

  9. rob62521 Says:

    Some good advice has been given, but may I also offer a few suggestions. I would have everything documented, but I would not meet with this person alone. Perhaps the head of the department can be in this meeting and this person can explain how the course is necessary and you are doing what is best for the class. My heart goes out to you because this isn't easy. There are some who just want to make trouble.

  10. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    I agree with Rob - don't meet with this person alone. I'm sorry you're having to deal with such an ingrate.

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