I was about to start this post off with, “I am feeling lazy, today,” but I don’t believe people are lazy. At least, I don’t believe children are. My students teach me more about living than most adults do. In their childishness, lots of truths escape and those of us, blessed to work with children, grow as a result of this.
Since, I have been teaching for years, I have experienced most kinds of kids, including those who get written off, as lazy. Picture yourself as a child. Didn’t most of life fascinate you. When there is so much for a child to learn, why would they be lazy? Wouldn’t they be wanting to search and discover?
Teaching ten-year olds is a good measure of viewing life. They are old enough to make judgements, wrong or right about the world around them. They do want to know and they stop wanting this when the start to fail in life. A child who has difficulty reading and gives up is not lazy. That child, most likely, wants to read and envies the children who always have these interesting books to read. That child did try to after a time without success, gave up. This is not because he is lazy. It is because he is frustrated, embarrassed, beaten down or tired from the effort needed to decipher some of the words. To an adult, the child may appear “lazy,” but I doubt that is the case. Children need motivation.
Maybe, this example will make it clearer. There are some papers on the floor, in the classroom, and the teacher asks the class, to pick them up. A few boys will do so and the room is clean. Why didn’t all the boys help with the picking up of the papers? What purpose is there, for them, to do that? Do you think that they really care if there are a few pieces of paper on the floor.
I started a cute activity, years ago, when I told the class, when I asked them to pick up the papers, I would have one particular piece, in mind. Whoever picked it up, got a very small reward. All of a sudden, every child was out of his seat, willing himself to get the most papers to make sure, he gets the one that earns the tiny prize.
I stressed tiny prize because, that is all it is, usually a sticker of some kind, whatever has been donated to me. Do you think that sticker is really important to the kids? It isn’t but it is a prize and for that, they will run to clean up. Yes, I know, it would be nice if their motivation was to keep a clean room but, I have not yet, seen this, in a class. Since, the room has to be neat, this is my way of doing it, with a minimum of fuss, a little fun and a class who wants to do it. Were they lazy without the little prize? I don’t think so.
I would love to have your thoughts on this matter. Please share an opinion or an experience.