After a few years of pulling teeth and general wrangling about the importance of schoolwork, Chris has decided that he could get good grades if he wanted to. Better yet, he has decided to want to. First term went so much better than last year, but he's slid back into some of his old, lackadaisical habits recently.
Today was parent/teacher conferences at Chris's school. We looked at his grades together. To his credit, they are mostly As. Three, however, are considerably lower than that. One was caused by just not turning in things he had done. Easily remedied in that class. The other two will be tougher.
Chris got angry, blaming his teachers for changing late-work policy and going over hard material too fast. Then he complained that the classes were boring and not worth listening to. He ramped up the rant by accusing me of not giving him any incentive to get good grades. Other parents pay their children for good grades, or give big rewards. I'm too stingy, to mean, and too uncaring, I know (he didn't actually say that, just so you know).
And for some reason, Chris did not want to go with me to talk with his teachers. <sigh>
If you want consequences for grades, you have to accept the bad consequences, as well. And that means going to an uncomfortable meeting with your teacher (who is unimpressed with your performance) and your mother (who is frustrated with your attitude and disappointed with your work ethic).
And part of growing up means taking accountability for your own actions, not shoving fault onto others around you. It also means finding your incentive inside yourself instead of waiting for someone else to motivate you. If you want a better environment, you have to put more into it.
Yes, I am listening to myself talk here. And here are some ideas I found in this article today. It talks about how to be happy at you job. We all have jobs.
- Like your job. Employees who achieve great results care about what they do. They are always zealous and take an interest in all facets of their work, whether they are in the classroom, on an outreach program, in a fair booth or doing management tasks.
- If you are not happy with your work, find a way to make it interesting. Try increasing your job responsibilities or changing your outlook. Do not be scared to take on more responsibility. If you have the opposite problem and have too much on your plate, find out if you can delegate some of your responsibilities.
- Watch where you put blame. Where do you put the fault when you have a tough time with a supervisor? Blaming the other person will only cripple your attempt to change. We all have tough times at work. Some choose to complain, others choose to be productive and positive. Which kind are you?
- Ask for help from a boss or an HR representative, or ask a co- worker how he or she does a certain task so efficiently. Consider it a way of acquiring strength rather than exposing a weakness. Showing interest in your job is a positive step.
- Be a positive thinker. When you commit a mistake, tell yourself, “It's OK, I messed up, but I’ll do better next time.” Team players don’t waste time getting unduly upset about mistakes made. Instead, they gear up for the next opportunity.
- Be a team player. Top achievers share their knowledge, experience and time with others. They do not keep important information for themselves only. They do not act like only they can complete a task or are capable of completing an assignment correctly. A sign of a team player is that others on the team have the information to cover when one team member is out. Real team players are generous about their time and effort when it comes to contributing to the success of the team.
- Be cheerfully flexible. Plan on the fact that the unplanned will happen. Often we show our true mettle when a crises occurs and we have to deal with something unscheduled. Roll with the punches.
- When work is through, go home and do something. Walk around the block, or read a book. Work on a hobby or plant a flower. Make your home life as active as your work life. It will help you remember that work is only part of your life, and life is worth living. The more you do, the more you want to do. Your enthusiasm will motivate you and you will naturally achieve more — both at work and at home.
Yes, I made him go to parent/teacher conference with me. And later we made up. And now I'm having my own parent conference and finding some late work I need to redo and turn in. I have some lackadaisical habits I need to get rid of, too.
And maybe tomorrow (or tomorrow's tomorrow) will be happier.