A few weeks ago, I had a student come to me with a problem.
This student was frustrated. He was frustrated because he had worked hard to complete his homework before his next Maths lesson. But when he arrived at the class, he discovered that nearly half the class hadn’t done their work. And there were to be no consequences because so many people had failed to complete the homework.
He simply said to me: “How is that fair?”
“Why should I bother completing my work if there are so many people who don’t complete theirs? They got an extension for the work, I could have had that extra time too.”
Why should I do it if no one else does?
It takes a bit of patience to answer a question like that. He’s not wrong, really. It is unfair that certain people were given more flexibility than others.
The important aspect to pay attention to is that this student DID do the work; which shouldn’t be for the sake of the class, or the teacher, or his peers. This student was convinced that the class was not fair because the students who did not complete the work were not punished.
Although I took a moment to make sure I had it worded properly, I gave him a simple answer.
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Don’t worry about whether or not it’s fair. The fact that you have done the work is for you. It means you did what you were asked to do. Regardless of what other students are doing, you should be happy knowing you did the right thing.
Do what needs to be done
When students emerge from school and enter the workplace, this is the attitude they will need.
Not an attitude that says “if he doesn’t do it, why should I?”
Instead, an approach based on a very simple idea: “I will do what I need to do, instead of worrying about what others need to do”
That doesn’t mean blindly follow
It just means that time you spend worrying about what other people around you have or haven’t achieved is time that you waste.
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