Each semester brings me reflecting upon, what can I do as a teacher to help students understand that not all tasks are going to be “super amazing high energy jobs”...there are also going to be “boring, mundane jobs” that just have to be done. And I get this, but I am also a 37 year old, not one of the 13-18 year olds that I teach.
Prior to this semester’s discussion on the topic, I had my students rate themselves on their own personal work ethic. During our discussion for the first time, everyone agreed that “yeah we don’t like to work hard at tasks that are boring”, but yet they seemed to think of themselves as having strong work ethics. As our discussion continued, we determined the difference between hard things and small things (i.e. making beds each day, flossing teeth, or even getting up without hitting snooze), and that the small tasks are the ones that seem to be ignored.
As our conversation came to a close for the day, I kept pondering, when we turn our attention to do the small things, shouldn’t we be learning about discipline? When we pay attention to the small things, don’t we learn to pay attention to the details? Or even, being consistent in completing the small tasks, won’t that lead to a positive impact when completing the hard tasks? Yet, I still kept thinking, maybe the students don’t know what actually goes into determining a strong work ethic...maybe the students need to be taught or modeled the following things (this list is taken from the MPS Process Report Card) that can help develop a strong work ethic.
- Willingness to begin tasks
- Retrying after failures
- Seeking opportunities to demonstrate advanced proficiencies
- Being intrinsically motivated
- Prioritizing tasks to complete project
- Attention to detail
Blog to be continued...because I have too many questions with no answers.