Guys this is something (unmotivated students, disruptive/pensive attitudes, cheating/just wanting the "answers" instead of valuing broad-based understanding, etc.) that I have REALLY struggled with in nursing education, both in the classroom and in the clinical setting.
During this past year I was SO FORTUNATE to come across literature regarding civility in nursing education and how to foster it. I believe there are a multitude of reasons for this phenomenon: 1.) common courtesy and civility are not virtues that are held in high regard within our society in general (if it was Donald Trump wouldn't be held in such high esteem... lol), 2.) civics classes aren't being included within secondary schools' education curriculum anymore; it's not being addressed in a tangible way like with citizenship grades, etc., rather it's reactionary to disruptive to behavior, and 3.) many of the academic settings are fraught with educators who are uncivil towards each other, as well as the students.
The students are under the impression that teachers are just reading PowerPoints, have "favorites" and are trying to "weed" them out. Honestly, y'all, is there not some truth to that? Do we have instructors who are merely reading PowerPoints? Do we have instructors who aren't putting forth the effort to competently (let alone expertly) understand the content and concepts that we are expecting them [the students] to understand? There are reasons for this that the students don't realize, they don't understand that we don't have all the answers and that when an instructor comes in and can explain difficult theories/concepts in an easy way to understand that we've spent HOURS familiarizing ourselves long before we presented it to them. They don't know what our course and workloads are like. They don't realize that very often there is an unfair distribution of work amongst the instructors. They don't understand that we have lives too! They honestly think we just have all the answers, that we're all just that smart and that we're just sitting on our asses during our office hours!! When we don't have all the answers and/or inadequately explain concepts they think we're intentionally holding back information and not "helping" them or don't respect or care about them enough to do our jobs that they're paying us to do. Additionally, it is hard for them to grasp the level of understanding that they need to posses to be safe nurses (application/analyses). So when they have teachers who don't explain things but, rather, teach to the test; they think those are the "nice" teachers.
It's not unlike my perception of bedside nurses who are task-oriented. You think, look this nurse is just doing tasks and doesn't really care about the patients. Although the patients and families might think they're great because maybe they're in the room more talking/visiting (or managers think they're great because they're getting all their paperwork done and not complaining about the impossibilities of providing ADEQUATE care due to staffing and acuity levels) because they're not doing their assessments, discovering changes, monitoring labs/studies/trends and notifying the doctors of changes. As a side note, I've recently had a critically ill, close family member in the hospital setting and can attest to these as being widespread behaviors. Usually when this occurs, it's because they're short-staffed and the management only cares about numbers. Is this also not what happens to us? I hear y'all saying that again and again, Our administration is only interested in "numbers" of those that successfully get through our program and not rocking the boat- Then what happens is that you have groups of people who just go along with and act like it's all okay and they become management/administration's favorites. You have instructors who become burnt-out (just like bedside nurses), they don't teach the students and they just pass them along. In my program I work opposite clinical instructors who only have students on the floor for THREE HOURS (send them to the floor late, let them take 1-1.5 hr long lunches, talk about their personal lives at post conference and then send them home 2 hours early), we're supposed to be there 7.5 hours, talk about being set-up to look like the mean teacher! These instructors don't "rock the boat" though, so what do you do?
What I have done, that may help you, is familiarize myself with the phenomenon, Incivility in Nursing Education, and sought literature regarding what it is, what are the causes for it and how do we address it. There's a good article on Medscape, which talks about it The Downward Spiral: Incivility in Nursing and there is also a pdf document Fostering Civility in Nursing Education and Practice that might be good starting points for you. If you have an account with NurseTim they have a lot of audio presentations on this, along with handouts, you can just listen to them while you're driving/working out. One of the best ones is Incivility Ten Strategies for Minimizing or Managing Student Misbehavior by Dr. Susan Luparell because it actually offers you with real suggestions to deal with it versus just complaining about it.
Students become uncivil when they think we don't care and they don't see the relevancy in what we're teaching them. A few things that have helped me demonstrate care to my students is providing opportunities to learn concepts through introspective activities (narrative pedagogy), giving meaningful work that shows relevancy through rationales (mainly NCLEX style questions prior to lecture) and providing interactive opportunities like through polling and soliciting their input (what do they think) in class. Something else I do is share with them the Bloom's taxonomy model, they appreciate it because they want to learn and do well, they want to see the relevancy of doing what they're doing. It's an easy concept for them to understand because it's similar to Maslow's hierarchy with one thing building on top of another. Anyway, when we do questions together I have them determine what level of question it is; this helps them better understand their required level of understanding and it helps them "think about thinking," which inspires them to want to do it!
Something I found interesting that you had said is that you were a nurse 1st and an educator 2nd. Every good nurse teaches. And it takes a good one to teach one (and I am quite certain YOU ARE or you wouldn't be feeling the spiritual distress that you are now experiencing). You haven't left the profession of nursing, you just have a different patient population (students) with different goals (reaching their optimal levels of learning and practice versus personal health management). They are deliverers of care versus receivers of it. You would be feeling the exact same conflicts at the "bedside" that you are feeling at the "podium", which is a lack of care and integrity from nurses (be they student nurses or licensed/registered nurses) in practice.
If anyone would like to message me, I would be MORE THAN HAPPY to fellowship and share with you articles and resources that have helped me.
My heart goes out to you and all of us who are struggling with this and truly care.