Why do I care?
I do care, however, I have asked my self the question; Why should I care if the students do not?
I have always taken pride in my work, regardless of what it is. Heck when I used to flip burgers at Jack in the box I would always make sure that my burgers and sandwiches were as close to the picture on the menu as possible, never squeezed, never old vegetables, etc. If I cared about that, imagine about teaching.
Have you ever met a medical doctor, or a grad student, or even a professor and asked: How the heck did you ever get this far? I like to think that those studets that do make it trough my courses actually learned a few critical thinking skills along the way, and that those that did not make it through, did so because of their lack of effort and not because of my deficiencies in teaching.
I am not goint to embelish and tell you a story about preparing the future generation. I think it is more an issue of being selfish and prideful. I would like to be the one that students sign up for my classes because rumor has it that they are goint to learn and not the one that is easy to pass, or do not sign up for his class because he is hard as nails and you won't learn a thing.
Nonetheless, I do feel and have felt that if the students are not putting in their time why should I. The draw back is that it becomes a cycle, they come in unmotivated, I am unwilling to spend time motivating them, and it becomes unbearable. I'va had a couple of classes where I have taken that approach, where I just gave up on them, and well, they in turn give up on me. The couple of times that is has happened, I could not wait for the hour and a half to finish, then I could not wait for the semester to finish. I do not wish to fall back into that, even though I do still do it on ocassion.
Last semester, I was conversing with a couple of colleagues about one of my classes in which no one had managed to earn an A average at the midterm point, when the previous summer, I had a very talented class in which all 26 students were passing and more than half had A's or B's. Both classes were taught from the same set of notes, materials, powerpoints etc. I mentioned that I felt as their failure was a reflection on my teaching. However, (like LQ43) they pointed out that we teach at a CC, where many of the students do not have the background to be taking chemistry; their math is barely at an algebra level, and being a southern border town, many of the students are just learning english, thus language also becomes an issue, and that I should not take their failure as my failure.