Ban on "Lazy"

By Grace Losada, Ed.D.

At Fusion, we are passionate about the word “lazy”!

We have all heard students described as “lazy.” In a moment of frustration, we may even have used the word ourselves. But it is a truth of human nature that we all desire to be productive and attain success (though we likely define success in different ways). I’m not saying that we don’t have days when we are tired and really want to veg out on the couch, but a chronic lack of energy, action, and drive is always a symptom of a larger challenge a student hasn’t been able to overcome on their own.

When a student is demonstrating what we might be tempted to describe as “laziness,” it is critical that, as responsible educators, we dig deeper to determine what that challenge is. Has the student failed so many times it is too scary to try? Is the student lacking strategies to overcome an executive functioning deficit leading to chronically incomplete assignments? Is the student so distracted by a social or emotional issue that their cognitive capacity is significantly impaired? Is the student embarrassed to reveal that they never learned the foundational math skills to achieve success in algebra, so they adopt a “lazy” affect to hide their lack of understanding? Is the student chronically exhausted due to lack of sleep? Is the student thwarted by a deep sense of perfectionism, circling and circling on minor details with no forward momentum?

Not only does defaulting to the explanation, “he’s just lazy” hide the reality of the situation, it is actually harmful. With that one word, we absolve ourselves of any responsibility (a responsibility that can be challenging and even painful- requiring a lot of hard work on our part) to understand the true cause of the unproductive behavior. Using “lazy” as a label perpetuates a negative image (and often self-image) of the student and condemns them to a situation that lacks any expectation of success. When we and they buy into the belief that the student is “lazy,” there is nowhere to go, there is no potential solution to explore. Lazy is a hopeless and painful identity to carry.

At Fusion, it is part of our promise to students and families that we will reject this notion of “lazy.” Instead, we hang in there with our toughest students until we figure out what it is that they need to demonstrate their potential and then we make sure they get that need met so they can thrive!

Our founder, Michelle Rose Gilman, is so passionate about how awful and detrimental the word lazy is, we have an

All-Fusion ban on the words “lazy” and “laziness”!

So that’s it! No more! We’ve all pulled together to take these words out of our vocabulary in our conversations, in our notes, and most importantly- in our thinking! In lieu of a “lazy” label, we are committed to deeply understanding what blocks our students from productivity and success!

At Fusion we believe:
• Humans are naturally motivated toward productivity and success
• Laziness is a myth
• When we witness “laziness,” we always dig deeper to understand what is blocking the student
• We are dedicated to partnering with students to overcome those things that block them

Join us in revolutionizing education, one word, and one student, at a time.