We have a fairly large number of non-traditional students at my institution. I appreciate their motivations - hell, I was a non-trad myself (though not so non-trad as some, if you will). Of course, some days I want to just stuff them all into a rocket and blast them to Mars.
It's not all bad. They catch my cultural references. They tend to have better taste in music. And they have some perspective, some life experience, that can make for good class discussion.
But, sweet lordy, as often as not they are my most obnoxious students.
The older ones, usually around retirement age, often treat the whole class as if it's for their personal benefit, refusing to respect class rules, assignment deadlines, or their (younger) peers. The ones who are clearly looking for a career-switch, usually in their thirties or forties, are almost always ruthless grade-grubbers as well as alarmingly frequent cheaters, frequently convinced that they are absolutely justified in their misdeeds by the fact that they don't like their damned jobs. And nearly all of them uncritically buy into the "customer service" model of teaching, expecting that if they pay their money, they're entitled to a passing grade - a good one, too, if you please.
There's one in particular this semester who's driving me up a wall. I'll call her Rita. Rita is about my age, which is to say that she's old enough to know better. I haven't caught Rita cheating, but I'm almost positive she is - probably subcontracting her papers, based on a comparison between her essays and her answers to essay questions on similar material. She frequently misses class, which I don't personally care about, but somehow thinks its my job to catch her up on the material she's missed, which I do care about. She cannot accept that she bears any fault for low grades, insisting that it's my job to make sure she understands - her favorite refrain is "what do you think I'm paying you for?" Any time the conversation veers toward something that she deems uninteresting or difficult (which is frequently), she laughingly points out that she is "only taking this class so she can get a degree and get a better job" and that she "don't intend to work that hard." (sic)
I have told Rita in no uncertain terms that she is responsible for own performance. I have firmly reprimanded her in class for disruptive or disrespectful comments. I have instructed her that she is paying for an opportunity, not a result. All of this bounces off her as if she were armored against reality, completely shielded against anything she doesn't want to hear.
I complain a lot about the kids. I complain about their stupid, immature decisions and their undercooked brains... but snowflakery is evidently only correlated with, not caused by, youth.