A frustrated high school teacher has detailed how her students’ ‘learned helplessness’ has left her hating the sound of her own name.

The teacher took to the internet to reveal how students expect teachers to solve all of their issues, and it’s reached a new low, even though she thought students’ learned helplessness ‘couldn’t get any worse’.

“A (year 11) student had with the paper assignment in front of him staring off into space,” she explained.

“I asked him why he wasn’t doing his work he said, ‘I don’t have a pencil’. When I asked him if he’d asked anyone for a pencil he just stared at me. I finally asked, ‘Would you like to borrow a pencil???’ He nodded.

“I gave him a pencil from my desk. I walk back around a few minutes later and he’s still staring into space. I asked him again why he wasn’t doing his work, he said. ‘The pencil you gave me is broken’. The pencil was not broken folks, it needed sharpened.”

The teacher said it’s the same with entire classes, including one of their year nine cohorts.

“The principal came on the school speaker this morning and said that there are problems with internet connectivity but he would let us know when it was fixed. I had a room of 30 students all saying, ‘My computer isn’t working. It’s not working Ms my computer has a blank screen’. It reminded me of those Muppets that only said ‘meep’ in rapid succession.

“I can’t anymore. I still have students who have been told a million times to take my assessments they need a school-issued Chromebook and expect me to provide them with one.

“I came home this afternoon, went into my half bath, closed the door and screamed at the top of my lungs to get out this frustration/rage. I hate the sound of my own name.”

The rant was met with hundreds of supportive comments from other teachers and parents.

“This is because we keep coddling them … They should slowly be given more responsibilities from grade 6 to year 8. Didn’t bring your Chromebook? You have to do the work at home. By year 7 grade, they should losing points for late work. I had students who had transferred out of my class and had parents still asking if they could submit an assignment from the previous semester to boost their grade. It never ends.”

“I stopped helping the helpless this year. Learned helplessness is how some students survive. They have other do their work for them or meander through their classes with minimal effort while teachers bend over backwards for them.”

“A lot of these kids act ‘dumb’ because it’s easier. They know the teacher will help them, their parents will coddle them, and they’ll get extra consideration from their peers and admin. It’s beyond learned helplessness, it’s faked incompetence. I have kids doing it in grade 3.”

What’s your opinion? Let us know in the comments below. 

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  • To the parent comments – there are so, so many health issues that can cause this. You cant ignore it without investigating it.


  • This would really frustrate me! Not sure if it’s laziness or is this what the next generation is becoming?


  • My daughter is a school teacher and some of the stories she tells me are a real eye opener. The biggest issues at times happens to be the parents who feel their child is always in the right. Kids pick up on this and will act up knowing that Mummy and Daddy will stick up for him instead of supporting the teacher.


  • Yeah honestly I’ve been parent helper in a kindy class and they help themselves better than that if this is happening in highschool they’re just being lazy lol


  • Unfortunately this was happening when i was in school many many moons ago. Kids are lazy and will do what they can to get out of just about anything. There needs to be boundaries put in place and consequences for the students who continue to do this unless there is a good reason for it.


  • There have always been students like this regardless of the generation


  • When I went to school if you didn’t pass your year you stayed down. This doesn’t happen now because you lose your friendship group and it is embarrassing. Really!! Just hard luck. Students know they don’t have to work because they just keep going up the grades. I went to a Grade 10 assembly a few years ago and actually walked out. They were slovenly and really didn’t care a jot for what was going on. These are our future leaders – what a joke. I know why teachers are leaving in droves.


  • I’m noticing even with my daughter- she just doesn’t seem to be able to do simple things I could do at her age. She’s nothing like the kids in the article and I definitely try not to let her get away with it and fix things herself, but it’s definitely a problem with the next generation.


  • Its a whole new generation out there now. I feel for teachers with many of the students they have.


  • We as parents and teachers alike do have to teach our kids responsibility and ownership indeed


  • Perhaps a written list on the board at the front of the class could be done so all the kids in the class know if they don’t do their work on their own by themselves with their pencil that they have sharpened that they will not pass at the end of the year. No if, buts or maybes. Them’s the rules folks, and it is up to you to follow them.
    I really pity teachers these days, they have to cope with so much that is not what they should be doing.


  • I cant even imagine the life of a teacher. It’s stressful and kids are a lot. Kudos to you.


  • Gee, what hope is there for their future??


  • Self reliance and problem solving is so important.

    • It needs to be taught at home and school and everywhere.


  • It is absolutely a problem, but sometimes when you try to force your kid to take responsibility… well, chaos and confusion.


  • Can teenagers display weaponized incompetence? Yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised. It would get old being an educator and dealing with the attitudes and lack of motivation some kids would have. Avoiding it definitely starts at home. Not introducing kids to screens early, giving them a chance to be bored or do nothing and sit with that nothingness. Coping skills really are a skill.


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