As a teacher, I like to think that I’m relatively well-able to handle most personality types in my classroom.
- Drama Queens? Check
- Class Clowns? Check
- Great Debaters? Check
- Curious Questioners? Check
- Know-It-Alls? Check
- Entitled Princesses? Check
- Feet Draggers? Check
- Time Wasters? Check
- Social Butterflies? Check
- Unhelpful Helpers? Check
- Cry-Babies? Check
- Hopeless Romantics? Check
- Idealists? Check
- Pessimists? Check
- Competitive Jocks? Check
- Wall Flowers? Check
Name a personality type, and chances are a teacher has dealt with that type at some point in their teaching career – often with varying degrees of success and failure. No matter the personality type, there are good and bad attributes about each, and therefore, there is always something to learn, something to gain and something to lose by working with each type. That’s the nature of the game. It’s our differences that make our experiences worthwhile.
And while I have learned a lot from working with each personality type, there is one type that I have learned nothing from; one type that has resulted in more frustration and hair-tearing out than any other; one type that I have had very little success with over the years.
The Lazy Ones.
The Lazy Ones are nearly impossible to motivate. No amount of coaxing, bribing, prodding, pleading, or threatening works. You can’t engage them enough, entertain them enough, or pique their interest enough. You can’t convince them, persuade them, or cajole them. They simply do not care, and they cannot be bothered to do the work.
In an effort to engage the student, the teacher will jump through all manner of hoops in the hopes that something will trigger an interest, a curiosity, or an innate gift, that will then catapult that student into “contributing member of the classroom” mode.
And it never works.
The teacher can use all form of pyrotechnics, dancing animals, explosives, musical theater, and celebrity endorsements and still… nothing. After all avenues of engagement have been exhausted, the teacher will receive, at most, an eye roll and a shrug, and the head returns to the desk, the body slumped over to resume it’s napping position.
Phone calls to parents, failing grades, after school talks about “potential” and “innate abilities” result in more nothingness, and the teacher stands there helplessly as another “lazy one” slips through the cracks despite exhausting every avenue available.
So, what’s a teacher to do? If the intrinsic motivation to learn something isn’t there, can any manner of extrinsic motivators do the trick? What do we do with the lazy ones? Can we save them from themselves? And how do we prevent ourselves from burning out in the process?
Gif Source: www.cinemagrapher.com