Apathy: when teachers care more than students about their learning.

Our staffroom today was filled with baffled teachers. Our students, across the board, had us stumped. Every class we had that day had refused to give us anything. They sapped our energy, chatted while we attempted to assist them, and made it impossible to run a class without constant interruptions. Without exaggeration, I had to ask my year 11 class to get their laptops out six times this afternoon, as a group, and then each student individually.

Any group work I issue to year 7, 8, or 11 is not completed unless the groups are given constant assistance, as they see it as an opportunity to talk disrupt others, no matter how the groups are organized. I accept that, with many low ability classes, group work is going to be difficult to introduce. However, my year 10 students, a low literacy class with such a wide variety of behavioural and learning needs, do group work, for the most part, like experts (unless 2 very disruptive students are present).

My other classes seem to need spoon feeding. I agree with, and use, extensive modeling procedures, but these kids actually seem incapable of independent thought. And I know everyone will jump down my throat right about now and tell me things like I need to set more engaging work, but I have tried such a variety of tasks, levels of difficulty, group organization, and technological integration, since the beginning of the term that I am running out of options, and frankly, hope. I dread being a chalk and talk teacher who has to stand out the front the entire lesson and talk.

I am particularly concerned about the apathy and resistance to learning which my year 11s and year 8s show. I know this is experienced right across the school too, and wondering if maybe it is a cohort effect.

Anyone that can offer suggestions or advice on how to get these kids to come to the (figurative) party, please leave a comment or contact me via twitter @LaurenForner – any suggestions welcome!


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  1. * Sienna S says:

    Hi Lauren! Was recommended your website by a friend, as I’m also a first year teacher! Reading your blog gives me some great ideas and it’s good to see I’m not alone! I also struggle with students apathy and general laziness in a few of my classes.
    Hope to read more of your great blog,

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 2 months ago

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