Lack of motivation at school: ‘Teachers are also nonchalant’

Teens are accused of being more passive and demotivated than ever, returning the mirror to some of their teachers who are often absent themselves or who are content to read a textbook in class.

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“It is also the teachers’ faults when we are not motivated. They are never there. She is always a substitute. They don’t care,” said Jessica Dumergean, 16.

The newspaper spoke with 10 people who work at a secondary school or youth center. Almost all of them note a lack of study motivation and difficulty in organizing or taking action.

How to explain this trend? The newspaper met fifteen students at the Maison des jeunes Le Squatt in Ahuntsic, in Montreal, to hear their point of view.

“The distance school was not really school”, says Noa Livet-Pages, age 15. “I just didn’t go” [aux cours virtuels] and I passed anyway. †

Decline in numbers?

Days and periods were shorter, homework almost optional.

“That’s where they really tighten the screw,” says the young man, who notices a “radical” change of course now that the health crisis is over.

“The students just kept their habits out of the COVID time,” summarizes Noa.

The newspaper asks if their numbers have fallen since the pandemic. Everyone raises their hands in unison.

“I went from 90% to 50% in almost all subjects,” says a student who does not want to be named.

For many it is mainly the fault of the teachers. They are inexhaustible in this area. “It is not normal for the teacher to have the notebook read aloud in class. And that when we have a question, he says: “go to Google”, reports a student. I’m not gonna lie. If I don’t understand something, I don’t work [pour réussir]† †

Though she denounces the behavior of certain teachers, Jessica Dumergean admits that the ball is in hers too. “It’s starting to worry me [la baisse de notes] Next year she hopes to go to CEGEP. To achieve this, she plans to spend less time sleeping… and more time doing homework.

money for homework

A 13-year-old college student admits that if given the choice between finishing an important assignment or babysitting to earn money, he’d rather babysit.

Young people in particular seem to be aware of the shortage on the labor market, which manifests itself at school, but which benefits them on the labor market. “Even if studying is really boring, it’s still important. I don’t want to spend 30 years of my life in a convenience store,” says Ron Laviatrice (16).

For the youngest, the idea of ​​a career is very far away. “People are already asking me, ‘What do you want to do when you grow up?’ But I’m just in secondary school,” exclaims Sydney Fleury (14).

School staff at their wits’ end

Young people who report that their teachers are demotivated may not be completely wrong, as many school staff feel that their colleagues are at their wits’ end.

Mathieu* takes care of the first cycle as a director at a secondary school in the metropolis. What struck him most this year was not the attitude of the students, but that of his team.

“I have never experienced so many conflict or emergencies among adults,” he says.

He sometimes has to mediate between employees. Sometimes, between an employee and a student, he illustrates. “There is a lot of irritability. †

“I’ve never seen people so crazy,” Mireille* says of her colleagues at the Montreal elementary school where she teaches.

Not only has the pandemic affected their own mental health, but they now have to deal with the increased burden of difficulties among students, several speakers underlined.

“It’s distraught,” sighs Marjorie Racine, who teaches in Longueuil.

Her 4th year students simply do not have a 4th year academic level, she summarizes.

“Sometimes we feel like we’re not doing our job right. […] We don’t know where to prioritize. †

Taken on board

Crystel* is a school psychologist in Montreal. Its role is mainly to evaluate the students. “But there I have teachers who come to visit me in my office. I didn’t have this before. †

This fatigue, it is likely that the students feel it, suggests Camille Rivard, coordinator at the Maison des jeunes de Repentigny.

“I throw zero stones at school staff,” she warns. But we often hear from young people that there are those who do not feel supported and understood by their school staff. They feel turned around. †

* Fictional names. Several stakeholders have remained anonymous so as not to identify their students and to avoid retaliation from their school service center.

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