I work a 5/5 load at a small teaching college in Arkansas (3 preps, 2 upper level history courses per semester). Most of my students are first-generation college students. I've been here four years, and taught for six at another university before this one. I'd say that one word sums up our student body: unteachable. Students attend college for a degree, and are completely uninterested in developing any skill sets. This keeps me up at night because they are going into serious debt for a useless degree. Many of our graduates can be found around town working at oil change places, factory outlet malls, and mall chain store restaurants. Too often, on that first day of classes, students tell me they want to be a doctor, a lawyer, or an accountant. Yet very few of them can even pay attention in class for more than 2 minutes. Anyway, I always change up my instructional methods. I'm searching for somethign that works. In my first-year Western Civ. courses, usually capped at 65 students, with about 35 attending class regularly and somewhat participating, I only want students to do two things by the end of the semester: manage and process information, and write authoritatively about complicated and complex topics. I instruct students that they learn to write by doing it, so every other week, they have a writing assignment. I ask them to read several Moodle content pages, and then I give them a prompt. It's usually a comparison and contrast kind of prompt. Sept. 15 was the first Moodle deadline for the first four assignments (two quizzes, two writing assignments). As in previous classes, of all three sections of Western Civ (total 200 students), only about 26 did any of the work. The rest just ignored it. I know that when I see students on Tuesday, they'll ask me to reopen the assignments, and I can't do that. Once Moodle is configured, it has to stay that way. And I've spent the past four weeks constantly reminding students that the first deadline was Sept. 15. I even sent out a mass email on Moodle to remind them (sent that out once a day this entire past week). My colleagues tell me to not care at all about them. But I can't not care. I'm truly worried about their futures and that they're going into debt to get a degree so they can work at a $7.25/hr job. That makes no sense. I've tried the approach as my colleagues do--go into class 2X per week and lecture for an hour and fifteen minutes. When I've done that, 15 or so of the 35 who show up just leave class. Others just tap and scratch on their phones, and about 5 or 6 actually listen and take notes. Once, a tapper and scratcher ask me to stop talking during lecture because she was trying to keep up with three different texting conversations and I was distracting her. Lecture doesn't work. I've experimented with group work, but then the students don't talk to each other, or work the group activity sheet. they just ask "why are we doing this?" or protest: "I don't want to be in a group!" After four years at this shitty school, I've determined the students are unteachable. Yet my tenure prospects rely on being able to teach these students. So how do you teach the unteachable?