Should you try to be better no matter what?

I recently started working at a school. I’m so thankful to have a job, but I’ve noticed that the kids here in Australia differ greatly from those I’ve worked with in South Africa. Kids here have a good life and prospects, no matter what job they go into. But my question is, should you try to be better no matter the circumstances?

In South Africa

Many of the kids I worked with, especially with my teaching practice, really wanted to get good grades and go to university.

When I worked at a university in South Africa, students also told me about the horrible conditions that they went to school in. Many didn’t have chairs to sit on or tables to write at. Geez, most didn’t have many resources like textbooks or even white/blackboards in class. Not to mention the conditions that students endured at home and to get to school.

However, they persevered and got into university. For many, that is the only way to break the cycle of poverty, and I honestly commend anyone who can rise above those circumstances.

But in Australia

I’m a teacher’s aide at the moment and it’s been eye-opening.

I’ve noticed that students here are not as performance orientated as those in South Africa. You’d think that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I feel so uneasy about it.

There are students in the classes where I work that just don’t do much of anything except play games online or watch YouTube videos. I don’t mind a kid relaxing after they’ve done work, but some of these are students who don’t hand in work.

Let me also say that many of the students that I come in contact with at school already have jobs on the weekends and after school (mostly retail or fast food). They probably reckon that there’s no point in doing school work if you already have a job. I understand that somewhat, but don’t you want to get a decent education to just keep your options open for later in life?

Then, obviously, if you have some kind of learning disability that would discourage or be demotivating from learning. But at the same time, I feel like there are so many learning enhancement programs in schools here that it shouldn’t be such a big problem.

There’s also the fact that kids are not held back a year in Australian schools—which will be the topic of a next post.

It’s unfair

I hate that there are kids back in South Africa who would do anything to get the education the kids here in Australia take for granted. It’s so unfair that such a privilege is being wasted that it makes me so incredibly sad.

I guess it’s one benefit (?) of a first-world country. People get paid a decent minimum wage for unschooled jobs, so they don’t have to be so worried about going to university.

I just feel so uneasy about it, because in my mind it’s natural to want to do your best. Why wouldn’t you want to be better today than you were yesterday?

I guess it’s just easier to be lazy.


Can you relate to this post? Let me know in the comments.


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