I've mentioned before how I think many people don't give undergraduate students enough credit. Undergrads are often dismissed as lazy, self-entitled, disengaged, stupid, and looking for nothing but classroom entertainment and a good grade for not much work.
For several years now, I have refused to give into this narrative as a matter of principle. I expect a ton out of my students: I make them work incredibly hard (two assignments per class meeting), have draconian grading standards (I regularly hand out C's and D's on homework assignments and term-papers), give them pages of comments on their term-papers, which they have an option to rewrite, and have them read a ton (my philosophy of law class made its way through an entire 900 page textbook this semester).
One would expect, given the dominant narrative about students, that these practices would result in terrible student evaluations -- and, truth be told, every semester I'm deathly afraid that they will! But this just doesn't happen. I received my student review results today. As expected, my students rated my classes as far more difficult than the university averages, and as having far more work to boot. But did any of them complain? Not a single student did. On the contrary, many of them actually stated that they were thankful for how difficult it was.
I'm not going to go on and on about this. My aim isn't to be self-congratulatory. I merely want to convey the message that, in my experience at least, the dominant narrative about undergrads is false. My experience is that if you treat them like self-entitled, lazy children, then they'll live up to it. BUT, if you show some faith in them -- if you really challenge them, tell them why you're challenging them, and show them that you are putting in every effort to help them improve themselves as human beings -- they will, far more often than not, return the favor with hard work and appreciation.