Author Topic: Responding to complainy pants people  (Read 8355 times)

mom2_3Hs

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Responding to complainy pants people
« on: January 22, 2014, 08:52:59 PM »
I am a college professor, so I can't face punch them like I would like to.  Bu I would like to teach my students how to be non-complainy pants when dealing with a problem.  So I'm looking for suggestions.

Today's episode is brought to you by Martin Luther King Day.  I teach a lecture for 5 different discussion sections of 28 students (so a total of 140 students).  3 of the 5 sections are on M.  It gets better, classes started on a Wednesday, so the monday sections are already behind.  Consequently, I designed a computer activity they could do at home.  They did the same activity as the W and F sections, though W and F did it in the computer lab.

Student X in M section turns complainy pants.  Now there are a number of ways he could have expressed his disgruntledness, but his was particularly whiny.  There are ways to say, "I'm having a hard time with this.  Could you help me or give me more time?" instead of "this is a stupid assignment and it's not fair that I have to do it."  What's my role re: coaching him on living a non-complain-y pants life?  this is the second thing he's gone complainy on.

SwordGuy

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Re: Responding to complainy pants people
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2014, 09:24:43 PM »
I am a college professor, so I can't face punch them like I would like to.  Bu I would like to teach my students how to be non-complainy pants when dealing with a problem.  So I'm looking for suggestions.

Today's episode is brought to you by Martin Luther King Day.  I teach a lecture for 5 different discussion sections of 28 students (so a total of 140 students).  3 of the 5 sections are on M.  It gets better, classes started on a Wednesday, so the monday sections are already behind.  Consequently, I designed a computer activity they could do at home.  They did the same activity as the W and F sections, though W and F did it in the computer lab.

Student X in M section turns complainy pants.  Now there are a number of ways he could have expressed his disgruntledness, but his was particularly whiny.  There are ways to say, "I'm having a hard time with this.  Could you help me or give me more time?" instead of "this is a stupid assignment and it's not fair that I have to do it."  What's my role re: coaching him on living a non-complain-y pants life?  this is the second thing he's gone complainy on.
Put in your syllabus that their grade drops one letter each time they whine and that you are the sole arbiter of what whining is.   

Whiners make me itch to go all Lizzie Borden.

Jamesqf

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Re: Responding to complainy pants people
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2014, 10:30:58 PM »
Just point out that he either has to do the work, or lose points on his grade.  If he doesn't like that, he can drop the class or flunk.

TLV

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Re: Responding to complainy pants people
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2014, 10:48:58 PM »
My sister-in-law just started teaching in her first professorship after finishing her PhD. So far her standard reply to whiny students is "Welcome to college!"

Frankies Girl

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Re: Responding to complainy pants people
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2014, 10:58:54 PM »
My sister-in-law just started teaching in her first professorship after finishing her PhD. So far her standard reply to whiny students is "Welcome to college!"

I like that. :)

College is not compulsory. If they don't like the rules, they are free to leave.

Kepler

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Re: Responding to complainy pants people
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2014, 11:38:04 PM »
My sister-in-law just started teaching in her first professorship after finishing her PhD. So far her standard reply to whiny students is "Welcome to college!"

This, and many variations on this, are what I do: cheerful, but relentless and unflappable, insistence that personal responsibility for your own outcomes is what life in professional spaces entails.

Clever Name

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Re: Responding to complainy pants people
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2014, 01:35:09 PM »
Student X in M section turns complainy pants.  Now there are a number of ways he could have expressed his disgruntledness, but his was particularly whiny.  There are ways to say, "I'm having a hard time with this.  Could you help me or give me more time?" instead of "this is a stupid assignment and it's not fair that I have to do it."  What's my role re: coaching him on living a non-complain-y pants life?  this is the second thing he's gone complainy on.

Well, *is* it a stupid assignment?  Maybe he's just speaking truth to power.

/devil's advocate

Lans Holman

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Re: Responding to complainy pants people
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2014, 02:03:19 PM »
With small children, my all purpose response is, "Bummer". Say it with a smile and a nod, and then just move on.  Seems like it would be appropriate here.

SwordGuy

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Re: Responding to complainy pants people
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2014, 02:23:17 PM »
Saw this yesterday and thought you might like it...

Mori

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Re: Responding to complainy pants people
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2014, 03:16:24 PM »
My sister-in-law just started teaching in her first professorship after finishing her PhD. So far her standard reply to whiny students is "Welcome to college!"

This. Really.

Trying to think of my college years, I don't think anything would have kept me from complaining if I felt like it. I just would have found a different group to complain to. :) Keep yourself upbeat--they'll learn eventually or move on.

For some reason I felt like this was a computer programming assignment (projecting? :) ). "Most first assignments are kind of boring. We have to give everyone the same base to build on. Make it interesting for yourself."

Or, "If you like, I could give you more challenging assignments." :D

AJ

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Re: Responding to complainy pants people
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2014, 03:32:17 PM »
Or, "If you like, I could give you more challenging assignments." :D

I know this was meant to be snarky, but it isn't an altogether bad plan if done genuinely. If by "this is a stupid assignment" the student is really saying "this seems to be pointless busy-work from which I will gain nothing" then yeah, a more challenging assignment might very well help.

Mori

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Re: Responding to complainy pants people
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2014, 04:55:16 PM »
Or, "If you like, I could give you more challenging assignments." :D

I know this was meant to be snarky, but it isn't an altogether bad plan if done genuinely. If by "this is a stupid assignment" the student is really saying "this seems to be pointless busy-work from which I will gain nothing" then yeah, a more challenging assignment might very well help.

Not entirely snarky, just thinking that it's unlikely that a student will take up the offer. If they do, they aren't being complainy pants, just genuinely unhappy.

clarkfan1979

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Re: Responding to complainy pants people
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2014, 08:09:33 PM »
After about 5 years it becomes easier to tell them when they are being unreasonable. After about 10 years you just stop replying. I'm on my 7th year and aggressively trying to get to 10. 

MayDay

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Re: Responding to complainy pants people
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2014, 10:30:51 PM »
Quote from: Mori link=tI can't remember if we were complaining or not, but we were 19, so probably.pic=12829.msg243647#msg243647 date=1394831784
Or, "If you like, I could give you more challenging assignments." :D

I know this was meant to be snarky, but it isn't an altogether bad plan if done genuinely. If by "this is a stupid assignment" the student is really saying "this seems to be pointless busy-work from which I will gain nothing" then yeah, a more challenging assignment might very well help.

My gen chem professor did this. Pulled 3 of us after class and gave us extra work. We loved it. i