Students are entitled to nothing


“Don’t Think The World Owes You A Thing – It Was Here First” – Mark Twain

It’s the end of the semester–report card time. Students are now going through the ritual of approaching their teachers and asking if there is anything they can do for extra credit to get their grade where they want it to be. My stock answer to this question is, yes, and you can start by doing the class work that is due today.


It’s interesting how today’s students feel entitled to certain grades, regardless of whether or not they have earned them. I’ve substituted for wonderful and motivated groups of students, but I’ve also had the other extreme–the slackers and game players who spend the majority of their time trying to work the system; if they spent half as much time doing their work as they do trying to avoid it, they’d all be on the honor roll.

I often wonder where this entitlement mentality comes from. How in the world do they think they deserve an “A” or “B” when they haven’t completed a third of the work to earn such a grade. More puzzling still, where do they get the notion that they can make up a semester’s worth of papers, projects, homework, reports, journals, etc. with one lazy effort extra credit assignment?


Entitlement is what derails our kids from any hope of self-sufficiency, self-confidence and self-pride. We all know that entitled kid who, for whatever reasons are given, passes in life by parents who think they are doing them a favor.

I have spoken with teachers about the phenomenon of self-entitled students and they all say these kids will be doomed once they graduate high school, since very little effort will be put into their desire to succeed.

Further, it’s a belief that their papers, exams and projects should be graded on how hard they’ve worked, not how well they’ve mastered the material.

They think they deserve grades and recognition even though they haven’t earned it. Teachers have even noticed how friendships are ruined between those who work to earn grades and those who feel mailing it in should be good enough.

When they don’t receive the grades they think they deserve, many take the matter up with the graders. When that happens, one thing becomes clear: Their feelings about the quality of their work often don’t match the reality of their performance.


Instead of seeing their grades as a reflection of how well they interpreted or executed their assignments, some students will come to a different conclusion: The assignment was too difficult. Or my teacher doesn’t get me. Students who have this mindset usually have a weak sense of hard work and are not fans of doing what they need to do to get ahead. Accountability is not something they are used to. – South Florida Mental Health Counselor Lori Moldovan, RMHCI

Self-entitled students are dangerous. They short-circuit themselves by thinking that very little effort will get them very large results. Teachers say the main problem is that these students expect to be treated in the classroom the same way they are at home.


Many of these same students don’t want the available jobs because they believe they’re entitled to something better. So, that sense of entitlement stops them from securing life and work skills needed to start at the bottom and work their way up. They simply do not see the world in real terms.

But what is real is that – “it’s not what you hope for, it’s not what you think you deserve – it’s what you earn.”

This column is by Ritchie Lucas, Founder of The Student Success Project and Think Factory Consulting. He can be reached at 305-788-4105 or email at and on Facebook and You Tube as The Student Success Project. Lori Moldovan RMHCI can be reached at 786-747-2855. She works with adults, couples, teens and children with a wide-range of mental health issues.

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