Lazy…what’s in a word?

Posted by on Mar 18, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Lazy. What does it mean? I can sit and read a book for hours and be totally content. Or go jump on my mountain bike and go for a spin on the trail. Last night we made a bonfire, roasted veggie-hot dogs & marsh mellows and mac n’ cheese with our kids. They had a blast! That was a lazy Sunday evening spent chilling and making memories.

Several weeks ago, a teacher asked if a student I tutor is “lazy during the tutoring session”.

“Nope. The student works hard and recalls all the information presented. I’m proud of the effort given and I don’t see any lazy behavior being exhibited.”

“Great. That’s good to hear because I also don’t see any examples of the student being lazy in my class.” replied the teacher.

“So what’s going on?”

“Apparently another teacher feels that the student is being lazy in their class.” said the teacher.

When I was in school I wasn’t called ‘lazy’ but some of the comments made was that I wasn’t very focused or I needed to stay on task. My grades weren’t bad but they weren’t A’s like my older siblings. I remember looking out the window and just zoning out. Or looking at a page and seeing cool looking designs that would float and spin. In college, I would go to the library to study and after an hour I’d get drowsy and need a nap. I’d have a Coke or Mountain Dew and still need to take a nap. I thought that was what everyone did in the library. Then I found out about Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome often called Irlen syndrome. I went to their website and found out that I wasn’t lazy or unfocused, I just had Irlen. Who knew! I had elementary school classmates who wore Irlen lenses but no one ever offered to do an Irlen evaluation on the rest of the class to see if we had it too.

As educators we learn and know that every student has a different learning style and they learn at different rates. But how often do we let our preconceived notions or ideas influence our opinion of a student? Student appears to be staring at the book and not focusing, they’re lazy. They keep asking questions, they’re disrupting my class. Have we considered what factors can be causing the student to appear “lazy”?

I’ve been guilty of doing it too. But after my conversation with the first teacher I told myself that I need to do a better job in being a positive example for the students I work with.  Since I have Irlen, I have a better understanding of how and why some students act the way they do in a brightly lit classroom. Everyone has a bad day but it doesn’t mean I should put a check mark in a negative column and write them off.

“Ahh young Padewan, you are just being an idealist and you’re still new at teaching. When you’ve taught as long as I have you’ll see that student’s will play you like a fiddle the first chance they get. I know. I’ve seen it all.” says a fictional, maybe burned out, master teacher.

Maybe I’m being an idealist. Maybe I feel all students can succeed.  Maybe I should just shrug off the conversation. But I can’t.  Maybe lazy is just a word but any word used the wrong way can hurt what little self esteem a struggling student might have and it’s not something I want to do.


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