Generation Z or Generation Lazy?

In recent generations work ethic has been steadily declining and its effects are evident here at Liberty High School.

Grace Brusegaard, Editor In Chief

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Homework. Job. Work. These words tend to have a negative connotation surrounding them and cause many to sigh. Back in the day, hard work was essential for success in getting each family ahead in society. As many things have become increasingly accessible to students, including homework answers online, and easier ways to cheat, work ethic has generally declined.

There are many high school and college students that tend to have an expectation that success will happen right away, not over time. While there are still many exceptions, multiple things have been contributing to this trend.

In general, American society is self-indulgent and very focused on materialistic things. Buying the newest item on the market is important to many, but in order to do this, money is needed. Many young adults and teenagers grow up expecting instant gratification when starting a job rather than working their way up the system.

Peggy Dolson, English teacher, has been a teacher for 32 years. From when she first started teaching to now, she has seen an overall trend.

“[Work ethic has] decreased overall, if we look at the general population, of course we have to judge people as individuals,” said Dolson. “Students are less likely to be punctual, and I think there are various factors with that.”

Most times work ethic is instilled at home, starting from when children are young. For many people, their work ethic is driven by a desire to do well, whether that’s in school or for an extracurricular activity.

Certain school policies have also affected students’ choices when completing different things, such as homework. The homework policy has changed over the past years allowing for late work to be accepted. Most departments at Liberty allow for late work to be turned in late but with a 10% drop in grade for each late day. However, there are exceptions when a teacher is aware of things occurring in someone’s life outside of school that allows for some leniency.

[Work ethic has] decreased overall, if we look at the general population, of course we have to judge people as individuals”

— Peggy Dolson

This change has proven different from what many teachers at Liberty experienced when they were in high school.

“Homework enforcement varied depending on the class when I was in high school, but the deadlines were hard and I cannot remember late work being accepted in most classes,” said Tom Eilers, math teacher.

Similarly, Dolson shared that when she was in high school, late work was not accepted and was put in as a zero.

Although the late-work policy has changed, the workload has as well. According to Dolson, there has been an increase in homework load since when she was in high school. Along with other priorities including an after school job, clubs, sports, and family responsibilities, added homework can be added stress on students. As more students start attending college, building up a resume with increased involvement is becoming more important.

Starr Curry, junior at Liberty High is involved in a sport and realizes how for some people an extended deadline is needed.

“With people that have sports that go late, or people who have sports and jobs and don’t get home till later, and they didn’t have time to do [homework], then they should be able to turn it in without getting half credit,” said Curry.

With so many activities contributing to a given students workload, succeeding in school requires a few characteristics.

As someone who considers herself a hard worker who doesn’t let things get in her way, Curry lists some traits of a hard worker.

“A hard working person is determined, honest, not easily distracted at times, and focused,” said Curry.

Similarly, according to Dolson, an important aspect to succeeding is having time management skills, a desire to learn, and an ability to prioritize.

With people that have sports that go late, or people who have sports and jobs and don’t get home till later, and they didn’t have time to do [homework], then they should be able to turn it in without getting half credit”

— Starr Curry

Although there are many students who seem to lack a good work ethic, there are still many exceptions in each classroom.

“Every student is different, but those who continually work hard are students who appropriately use class time, are present and exemplifying our BOLTS matrix, and continually ask questions,” said Eilers.

Another factor that could be greatly contributing to a decreased work ethic in students is the increased use of technology. Now more than ever, it is easy to find the answers to many assignments. This allows students to finish homework quickly without having to figure it out themselves. It is much easier to copy from pictures of homework than complete it when time isn’t available.  

This reliance on others and technology allows students to not work as hard in classes and get away with minimal thought process on assignments.

Though many people’s work ethic in this generation is seemingly declining, there are still many exceptions who are determined to succeed and do.  

“My students have a high work ethic and I am very proud of the things that we have accomplished this year. Although the effort spikes before assessments, the majority of my students understand that continuing a good work ethic all year has enormous benefits,” said Eilers.