“I’m just lazy” – a modern disease?

In our quest to find young apprentices to come through the trades, Dave Bromley discusses an issue he has recently encountered;

My day started as any other, up, showered and dressed short drive to work, and then onto the electrical section of a local training provider.

I teach electrical theory and practical to new apprentices you see, ages ranging from 16-40, though mainly the younger end.

There are a multitude of skill levels ranging from born electricians to people that I wouldn’t trust to wire a plug…yet, my focus today though is one particular character, he is a quiet lad, intelligent, if a little awkward, but so far behind on his theory and practical that it really isn’t funny, he’s had meeting with his bosses, and his family, but nothing seems to be working.

I sat him down, my thinking being that maybe I could get through to him and try to make a difference, after all that’s the reason I got into teaching in the first place; So I arranged cover for the morning session, sat him down and started talking to him, my aim was to approach the subject from a different angle than everyone else had tried, rather than telling him where he was going wrong I was going to try and inspire him and try to find out what was hindering his progress.

I used every trick to motivate that I’ve picked up in my 7 year teaching career, I tried coaxing information out of him, it was like a tug of war with him giving little to no ground, but eventually he opened up a little bit, a chink In the armour I thought, and pressed on.

His demeanour changed and it was like he was ready to confide in me, he leaned in and said “in all honesty, I’m just lazy” I was a little confused to say the least, he sagged as if he had just had a huge weight lifted off his shoulders, it was an honest but unexpected response, apparently he found the subject matter interesting and the teaching was great as far as he was concerned, he understood, he just couldn’t be bothered, all the excuses he had made to his parents and his company were just that, excuses. I was expecting a problem that could be worked on, whether by his parents, or me but apathy is one of the most difficult things to deal with let alone cure.

I have been teaching apprentices for a little over 18 months now, after teaching adults previously, it was a culture shock to say the least. Having gone from teaching men and women that were self motivated, usually due to the promise of either a pay rise or promotion, or at least an addition to their services if self employed, to young people that just wanted to stay in bed in a morning was challenging to say the least. With every other apprentice under my care, I could motivate or inspire them to a greater or lesser degree, but this one was different he had the interest, he could do the work with ease when truly pushed to do so, but he had absolutely no interest in doing anything other than fiddle with his phone or some other inane object when this was confiscated, it actually got to a point, where, after every other distraction was removed, he actually started playing with his lips. Not in an act of defiance as one would expect from a teenager but merely absentmindedness made physical. I have since dragged this apprentice across the finish line of his first year, kicking and screaming but across it nonetheless.

Article written by David Bromley

So wants to know, is this a problem throughout the trade? Let us know your thoughts…. 

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