School Teaches Students How To Be Bad Workers: 5 Anti-Work Skills Taught In School.

Students are offered the fundamental skills and knowledge necessary for work, but the structure and underlying ethos of the education system also ‘teaches’ them how to be terrible employees.

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  • Talked my way out of deadlines, extending them, sometimes indefinitely.
  • Copied homework, answers, and projects to receive credit for work I didn’t do.
  • Ignored everything until the night before the exam and pulled all nighters to finish essays.
  • Lied to teachers about my mental state, or home state, or some kind of state, in order to avoid consequences and work.
  • Learned to nod when applicable, look ahead for the answer to the question that was coming my way, write down responses after they had been given out by others, and generally DO as little actual work as absolutely necessary to still pass the class.
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The truth is that school itself creates bad workers. And it does so in a number of ways.

Five Anti-Work Skills Students Learn:

1. How to avoid work

“School has also taught us problem solving skills. We see school as an obstacle and use the abilities we have acquired avoiding school to overcome it.” — High School Junior, 2015

2. How to fake knowledge and skill

Avoiding work is one skill, faking it altogether something else entirely. Outright cheating is the ultimate in faked knowledge, but school abets, even encourages, far more subtle forms of faked knowledge. The nature of tests alone foster a faking behavior. When one doesn’t knows the material completely, or not at all, that middle ground often forces an attempt at faking more knowledge than one has. There’s a genuine victory in getting a better grade than one knows they deserve (that ‘reward’ element of learning), but the final result isn’t exactly knowledge. Nodding while the teacher is lecturing, copying the work of others for credit (a time-honored tradition), padding essays with material from writers better or more knowledgeable than yourself, slapping copied paragraphs onto posters, Youtubing assignments, recycling old work. The methods are limitless and evolving.

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3. How to endure the clock

As a teacher, one learns a lot about managing time in a classroom. Lessons are planned to an exacting schedule, a kind of race, with a quick leap into action at the start, well-defined pauses, transitions, and breaks (if any), and — when the lesson is run according to the latest pedagogy — some kind of stretching exercise to wrap it all up. Students learn a lot too. If you don’t really want to be there, or do the work, or the whole point has no genuine purpose, then the time of school — as all of us know intimately from our own schooldays — is a form of torture. One key lesson of school is time-management, but of the endurance kind. Students learn to manage those blocks of time to get through the moment without having to engage in any way at all.

4. How to get credit for work you didn’t do

Group projects have a lesson behind them. What was supposed to be a way in which we learned to work together, has quickly become the way in which we learn how to manipulate someone else into doing all the work, while you sit back and wait for that A. Say there are four people in a group doing a project. One or two of them are actually bound to do work; the other two sit back and wait for the A. I have been on both sides of those groups, and to be honest, it is more rewarding being the person not doing any work and getting an A. So this skill will probably be staying with me in life. — High School Junior, 2015

5. How to properly create excuses

At the end of many actions comes the question: Why? We catch students in these acts — cheating, letting others do their work, copying homework, wasting time and avoiding effort — we catch them and ask ‘why?’ The best work avoiders arrive with the answers already prepared, as part of the process. The worst make it up on the spot. Both are steadily teaching themselves the art of the excuse.

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just another frustrated teacher