In all my years in basic school, I was a hardworking student. There was hardly any new class that had the exact same students as the previous.
However, in each one, I was one of the top performers. What was interesting to me was that I never actually put in a lot of work.
If I didn’t have a homework to do, chances are I would not study at home. I watched TV all the time and slept a lot too. But I was doing great, so everyone was happy.
I remember time and again when my teachers would come to class and be impressed with my vibrant participation and attentiveness. This was not the story for some of my classmates. You’d normally find them sleeping, talking or simply uninterested in the class affairs.
They were often lashed for their behavior and sometimes punished to perform tedious physical activities outside the classroom.
For so many years, it blew my mind how on this earth a student could go to class and fall asleep. “They must indeed be extremely lazy,” or so I thought.
But this was until I went to senior high school. This time, the playground was different because I was in the boarding house just like most of my other classmates.
For the first time in my entire life, there were times I felt sleepy during class hours. I was shocked. But I knew I wasn’t trying to be lazy. I was even more hardworking than I was in basic school. Only that I had to get up earlier, perform strenuous chores and sleep late at times.
I then realized that back in basic school, it wasn’t that my mates were lazy. Instead, living in a farming community, many of them had to accompany their parents to the farm as early as 2am or 3am everyday before school.
They were bound to get tired. It affected their participation in class and translated into lower grades.
I came to understand that I wasn’t necessarily smarter. If any of them stayed in my home, they would have had the chance to do better.
If they deserved anything for sleeping in class, it wasn’t to be caned or punished but allowed to rest awhile and then encouraged or motivated to catch up.
I regretted judging them wrongly.
When you are privileged, don’t think others are lazy.
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