In the last couple of weeks, I’ve heard several freelance developers and designers talk about “firing clients.” At first I was confused; didn’t it go the opposite way? Nope, not in a high-demand industry. If a client is too high-maintenance, or unreasonable, or can’t deal with the professional guidelines you’ve established, you just let them go. In some fields, the process is even more selective; PR firms, for example, often make you apply for their services.
This is a mind-blowing contrast to the “student consumer” mentality. In a classroom, educators are generally expected to make sure every single “customer” is taken care of.
I am so over that idea. When an acquaintance was at wit’s end trying to deal with a hostile time-suck of a student (my words, not theirs) and I just kept thinking that what this student needed was a stern, Donald-Trump-style “You’re fired!” I mean, come on, this behavior won’t fly in a workplace; why should a classroom be any different?
There’s a great management book called The No Asshole Rule. Its argument is simple: there are some people who are so problematic, they destroy workplace productivity. They must be gotten rid of. And to return to my favorite teaching-as-management analogy, there are some students who are so ridiculously problematic that you need to…what? Fail them? Fire them? Banish them from the classroom? I’d go for the latter, but I suspect this choice wouldn’t go over well with admin.