When I taught second grade, I had a teacher’s assistant that would not mark incorrect answers on students’ papers. When I realized this was happening, I assumed that she wasn’t being as careful and accurate as she needs to be and just mentioned that she needs to take a little more time to be thorough. A few papers later, I continued to notice incorrect answers not marked, especially with spelling. I spoke with her again and she argued with me that just because a child misspelled a word doesn’t mean it should be marked incorrect. They need to feel good about themselves before they can start getting better at their work. Wow…really?!?!

Needless to say, she didn’t last too long in my classroom…or anyone elses for that matter.

Ideas like this teacher’s assistant have created students that have a sense of entitlement. There is a sense of entitlement that kids have that confuses me. Kids demand that their work be easier, they demand that they are special and be treated differently than the rest, demand that their punishments are too harsh, demand, demand, demand.

I found this list of rules the other day and thought it was relevant. These rules are attributed to several people, but the original author seems to be Charles J. Sykes. He talks about how feel-good, politically correct teachings created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept set them up for failure in the real world.

Here are the rules and my two cents:

Rule 1: Life is not fair. Deal with it.

Okay…okay…I know that we want to teach fairness and create a sense of fairness in the students. But sometimes, life isn’t. We need to be able to cope with grace.

Rule 2: The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Everyone needs to understand that they are worth something. We mean something to our family and friends and they will love us no matter what. It doesn’t mean they won’t be disappointed in us. We should feel shame if we fail at something.

Rule 3: You will not make $60,000 a year right out of high school.

Sometimes it happens, but for the majority of us, it will not happen. I haven’t checked the statistics, but I’m sure it’s more likely to bump into the President at the market.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

I know there are good and bad teachers, but for the most part, teachers want to see you succeed (mostly because your grades and scores are a reflection of how they teach) and will give you many opportunities to succeed. If you don’t do your job, your boss will fire you.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: opportunity.

I’ve never flipped burgers, but I worked at a large store in the shoe department. I only lasted two weeks, but learned more in those two weeks than in any of my classes!

Rule 6: If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

When you’re five, you can get away with whining. Any older and it is very unbecoming and people won’t take you seriously.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you think you are. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parents’ generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

The sooner you realize that the world does not revolve around you, the easier life will be. Be grateful to your parents…you wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for them.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life has not. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to anything in real life.

This is why I love sports. There’s a winner and a loser. Learn to become a gracious winner and a good sport when you lose.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself. Do that on your own time.

Unless you teach… 🙂

Rule 10: Television is not real life. In real life, people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to their jobs.

Reality shows and sitcoms are not real life. People don’t just sit around and talk all day. School is your job… yes you need to be present and do your job. After you graduate and get a real job, you won’t get a detention for too many tardies and absences. You get fired.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.

No comment…(just in case my boss ever reads this). 🙂