Dan Chambliss.

In an opinion piece published by The Wall Street Journal, Professor of Sociology Daniel F. Chambliss writes about “the best teaching advice I ever received.” Titled “Go ahead, Drop My Course” and subtitled “There’s nothing morally wrong with not wanting to work hard at school,” the essay begins with a recounting of Chambliss’ frustration motivating a talented swimmer.

“You’ve got to realize, there’s nothing morally wrong with not wanting to swim,” a mentor says to Chambliss. Lesson learned Chambliss applies the same message to not wanting to work hard at something else – even school or formal education. “In fact, there’s nothing morally wrong with not liking school at all. It isn’t the only worthwhile thing for young people to be doing,” he writes.

“You can’t force motivation on a person; that door is locked from the inside. …  For some, it may simply be the wrong time to focus on education. More than that, we should know that when we respect students’ choices, they are more likely to respect ours, and they may better respect the ideas we want to share with them. But whether they do or don’t is their choice,” Chambliss writes.

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