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As an academic this is something that I find annoying and deeply depressing. Some of the people in my profession really do seem to have contempt for their students.

Interestingly, these disturbing attitudes are most prevalent amongst those who concentrate on teaching and don't do any research. My suspicion is that they feel insecure and so they they need something to feel good about; superiority over the students gives them the validation they require.

Here's an example. One place I worked they kept a book in the coffee room. The book contained "amusing" mistakes that students made in exams or in course work. Sometimes a group would sit around laughing about how stupid the students were and how little they knew.

This is really weird. If the students really know so little whose fault is that? Probably the people giggling at the howlers were the same people who had failed to carry out their duties as educators properly. I hope I never get so cynical.

Despite the fact that University students can be really stupid I mostly agree with what Noether has to say. I don't necessarily see them as contradictory.

I also do (I differ with West Country Guy) think that most students tell stories of their Lecturers' stupidity (hell, I tell people about my own stupidity ... see absent-minded for an example). I used to do it as an undergraduate, and I don't mind if students do it to me.

I still have respect for the good students, the people who actually try, who work hard in my subject, regardless of their marks. I have had some students who worked very hard and yet not got such good marks. These are the students you try to help, and you enjoy helping.

But an increasing proportion of the students do courses because they want to get a good job, not because they're at all interested in the subject. They put little effort into thinking about the subject, are mostly lazy and resort to copying and cheating to get through. I have no respect for these students; nor do I think they deserve my respect.

If students know little, it could very well be your fault. But if you've put your best effort in, and you've received objective feedback that you're an above average lecturer, then it can be and sometimes is the students' fault.

Sorry for being so terse, but this being a depressing subject I might as well withhold the anecdotes.

Suffice to say, many profs end up in instruction and not research by the luck of the draw, maybe helped along by a twisted sense of justice (ie, politics) from their superiors. Such discontents have contempt not only for their students, but also the job they are effectively forced to do. This of course starts a vicious cycle.

Dislike for a for teaching job causes frustrated students causes a frustrated teacher causes more dislike for the class. Hostility to the students gets reciprocated fast, both ways. In an academic environment where barring from research is the worst the administration can do, the prof feels he's lost, and there's nothing more to lose. Bad habits develop. One bad apple in a required class can discourage the majority of students in a program.

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