Aaron recently linked to the story about how today's college students are more narcissitic than their predecessors. As a college teacher, I have witnessed this behavior in the classroom: reluctance to do homework, expecting As, gasping in horror when test averages fall below 85%... It isn't that they are bad kids, but many of them are B students who think they're A students and have never been assessed an honest grade in their lives.
As a counterpoint to this article, I'd like to relate a story from my office hours today. A student came in for help on physics homework. He's really good and capable, so he was just fine-tuning his understanding. Once we finished up, he asked me a question about the lab course, which I'm not affiliated with. He said, "Why are the labs so easy?" "Easy?" "Yeah, I mean, we go in, take our data, and plug the numbers into the equations. I just think we should have to do more." This young man plans on going into the Air Force and med school, so he can be an astronaut.
It isn't that there aren't good students, with drive and ambition and work ethic. It's just that the others are, well, narcissistic, and just demand more of our attention.