If students smell blood in the pool, you are a goner. The same goes for the administration. They will exploit weakness with equal or greater exploitative cruelty. The answer is simple.
Cultivate a snottyass clique of one. You're the kool kid. And no one's getting in. Stop building bridges and start digging moats. Moats stocked with student-shredding crocodiles. Any attempt to bridge any perceived cultural/generational gap between you and Club Doofus only serves to undercut your authority. You come from the land of adults, and only you hold the keys to the kingdom.
Repeat after me: They're kids. Stupid kids. Fuck 'em. Focus on the few scholars in there waiting for you to take the garbage to the curb and get down to the business of teaching. Focus on the ones who deserve what you bring.
You may need to become fluent in smartass for a day or two. Some suggestions:
- "Wanna hear what's on my iPod? It's the sound of your folks bailing your sorry ass out for the rest of life because you suck at adulthood."
- "Know what I drive? I drive stakes into the heart of ignorance. Who wants first?"
- "I'd love to chill with you boys, but I'm too big for Gymboree."
Here's the kicker, if you are brutal, but fair, they may not want to chill with you (bonus!), but they will grudgingly respect you. Go Socratic on their ass. Make them squirm in front of their own classmates. Squash them with what you have: insight, knowledge, and intelligence. Play the game where you make up the rules. In your classroom, it's Ali vs. Frazier everyday. Only you're both, and they're the mat you're dancing on.
You have to break them to save them. You have to show them their own ignorance in order to show them what they can learn. If all else fails, find a college where students actually show up. You're not going home. You're finding your way to a new one.