Last semester I taught first, second, and third year students – and by far, the third year students were the worst. But, I had about four good students across two tutorial groups. Two students in particular would enjoy talking a lot of rubbish but surprisingly were always on to of content. They are both on exchange in Canada and recently posted a photo of themselves in front of a church describing the material change in the copper (that we had talked about in class) on my timeline. I thought this was very funny, and was a bit chuffed they had actually remembered something from class, but when I thought about it, it demonstrated something deeper.
Taking the time to develop a rapport with my students is key to my teaching, but oftentimes is not for many other teachers. However, with this rapport, these students connected their work to something external to university (and even their home country), all the while being a bit cheeky.
If we take the time to talk to our students, get to know them, help them when and where we can, they really aren’t the little monsters most academics would have you believe!