Sunday, August 21, 2011

Laziness


I have to admit something to you guys, I have been pretty damn lazy today.  It's been a long tiring week of getting back into the schedule of things with school starting back, and since I was not able to sleep in on Saturday, I have used today to catch up on my sleep.  So I am just now waking up.  I know there are people out there, who have natural alarm clocks and wake up at a certain time each day, generally go to bed at a certain time each night, but I have never been one of those people.  Part of it is because I have always found it hard to fall asleep at night, then when I do, I find it difficult to wake in the morning.  Today, I really had nothing to do, not that couldn't wait until the afternoon, so I slept in.

Considering my own laziness today, I wanted to ask my fellow educators out there how they deal with lazy students.  I think that part of this has to do with the lack of manners and courteousness that I spoke of on Friday, but I have noticed in the first week of school that no matter what I try to do, my students begin to complain as soon as I give them an assignment.  I try to make my classes fun and interesting, and I rarely give "busy work"  just so they will have something to do.  I find it particularly vexing with my 12th grade class.  Senioritis shouldn't start until later in the year, but these kids have caught it way too early. By the way, for those who don't know what I mean by Senioritis, Urban Dicitonary describes it as thus:
Senioritis: noun. A crippling disease that strikes high school seniors. Symptoms include: laziness, an over-excessive wearing of track pants, old athletic shirts, sweatpants, athletic shorts, and sweatshirts. Also features a lack of studying, repeated absences, and a generally dismissive attitude. The only known cure is a phenomenon known as Graduation.
Though most of it is very accurate, especially for Urban Dictionary, I hope that the only cure is not " a phenomenon known as Graduation."  If that is the only cure, I am afraid that some of these kids will not graduate.  They have required classes that they must pass this year, and even those they do not want to take seriously.  I hope this will change soon, but I would love to hear your advice, dear reader, on what I can do.  TIME Magazine published an article titled "How to Combat Senioritis" in May 2006, but this article did not seem particularly helpful. Kevin Quinn, a counselor at South Kingstown High School said, "Seniors need something to gravitate to and be re-energized by."  So South Kingston High School began offering dual college enrollment.  My students are far too lazy at this point for dual enrollment with a college.  At least one last year during his senior year took some online courses with a state university, but I do not think that he is doing so this year. In this same article, TIME Magazine wrote: "The best cure for some cases of senioritis is a strong dose of reality. More than 50% of students entering college in the U.S. require remedial course work once on campus."  The problem with this is that my students do not care about reality.  Most of them are quite spoiled rich kids (I teach at a private school), and they firmly believe that their parents' money can literally buy them an education whether they do the work or not.  I have tried to explain to them the reality of this, and the reality of not going to college for the few who do not plan on furthering their education, but they are too stubborn to see reality.

So, what have you done to combat Senioritis?  How have you found the most effective way to motivate your students?  My past techniques of making class more interesting and interactive, do not seem to be working this semester, so I would love to hear any suggestions from my readers.

10 comments:

silvereagle said...

Guy - Not sure there is any one solution. 1+1 will not add to 2 every time. Would suggest that any approach be that of the whole school faculy and administration, and frankly not sure what that approach would be. Wish I had an answer, but no experience in this area.
Perhaps a good dose of reality in exam scores or each subject they take...failure may result in growth of common sense.

Mike said...

When you find an answer, please let me know! I am working with THE MOST unmotivated group.

fan of casey said...

Joe: I think failure is the best wake up call you can bring home the horrors of reality. And lets face it, there will always will be some slackers in life who don't want to do the hard work despite all the motivation you give them, and using all the carrots and sticks at your disposal. At some point you are just going to have to give up on those people and concentrate on the ones willing to meet you half way.

JoeBlow said...

Silvereagle, if only the faculty at my school did work together on issues like this and in my opinion, our headmaster is just as lazy as the students and often does not support the faculty in our decisions. Hopefully, failure will result in growth of common sense.

Mike, if I can find an answer, I will let you know. I try my best to make my classes as interactive as possible in hopes of helping those with ADHD to learn more effectively. I hope they will get into the swing of things as the weeks go by.

FOC, you are right, that waking them up with failure may be the solution, but the response that I got from some of them with that suggestion is that there is always summer school. Of course, that is not the case with the senior class.

drew said...

It seems this generation is an entitlement group. I never had the option of not working!! I do think this group is going to hit a real reality check when they go for jobs... Living with Mom and Dad to age 40???

JoeBlow said...

You're right, drew, they are an entitlement group. There were two options that I never had growing up: working and going to college. It was never a question, and I did both. I did take off one year to give me some time to finish my dissertation, but my punishment was living with Mom and Dad. These kids will come to the realization when they look for a job that they can't be slackers and keep a job.

Uncutplus said...

I think there are also too many outside distractions. Case in point: My grandson is a senior this year and they took their "graduation" pictures last week just before school starts -- in tuxedo, etc. When I was in school, our pictures were taken about a month before graduation.

It is also the "me" generation and the facebook, twitter, you-tube, etc. seem to be more appealing that old-fashioned studying. No one, including parents, are teaching them responsibility (and manners) anymore.

JoeBlow said...

Uncutplus, you are right there are too many distractions for these kids. It's one of the reason that my school has a no cellphone policy. Our senior pictures were also taken at the end of the year, but the senior pictures at my school will be taken in a few weeks. Hopefully, one of these days we will return to manners and the "me" generation will be a thing of the past.

Mike said...

I did find something the other day that worked- I have a warm up activity- usually something like correct the sentence of the day (grammar, punctuation, spelling) in a sentence (see DOL books on amazon or B&N). I told one class I was bored and wanted them to teach me, then selected a student to do it.

Anytime we practice writing I make kids go up to the board and write their examples down. I call on victims at random. We then critique the sentence and I emphasize it is a learning process.

JoeBlow said...

Mike, I might have to try that. I've been trying to find things to do as "bellringer" exercises, but I usually have to work so much to get them to settle down, that I have to get started right away on the main lesson, but maybe some type of warm up activity to get things started will work better.