Paying My Students To Do Their Homework: An Update

Published by alvinauh on

A few weeks ago, I started using Steemit as a way to encourage my students to do their homework tasks at home. Well, you can say that I have started paying my students to do their work. In my head, I pictured a moment where all the students would clamor at posting as many articles as possible. I was wrong.

I suppose I have forgotten how teens react to tasks like this. Most of them just shrugged and decided that they were not going to do their work. I had it all planned out, I was going to go on a discord talk show organized by @teammalaysia to promote their work. Hours before the talk show, no one posted.

I started getting nervous, thinking that this was surely going to be a flop, and then the students started sending their work in. Well, only two of them sent in their work. I quickly formatted their work and posted it up on a blog that I have created called @steemit-esl.


I created a blog for them for the to track their comments as well as the biggest motivator of all, the payouts. Furthermore, I wanted them to focus on the language, not Steemit, yet. In addition, I had a plan to get the entire institution to use Steemit as a platform, but we shall get to that later. On Monday, I showed my students the upvotes and the pending payouts.

The Students’ Eyes

The ones who completed and sent in their work were happy, leaving the rest of the class to get all excited about this. They started realizing that this was real and not some weird scam concocted by a mad teacher. They realized that, I would actually be paying my students and that there was a chance to earn real money.

Thus, the once sleepy and bored eyes were changed, enthusiasm returned and many of them started being a bit more participative. At this point of time, if you are an educator, you may be wondering if this is ethical, let alone sustainable. The goal really is to motivate the students to start, many of the students are from non-English speaking backgrounds. As such, a lot of them have given up on ever scoring well in their English paper.

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However, I needed something to spark their interest once more. It is a feeling akin from catching your first fish. It is because of that first catch, this has motivated you to want to fish more. I am looking for that positive experience that make them want to come back for more.

So, I Told My Boss

My supervisor was curious and concerned about me. Apparently, my class was considered difficult to deal with.  When I told her about what I was doing, she got really excited and was interested in applying the same method to both classes. We spoke a bit on how to execute the project quickly as exam season is near.

However, we still need the principal’s consent and for now, he is ok with me trying this out. That being so, I think he is rather skeptical. Thus, I am hoping a change of attitude in the class or at the very least, a change of results for the better would help solidify the use case of Steemit in education.

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I Can’t Wait For The Payout

This project however is fairly new, to this day, even the first group of students have not received their payouts yet. I am extremely thankful towards @teammalaysia for supporting this endeavor of mine. I could not have given my students a big enough upvote.

However, the community quickly rallied behind it and upvoted my students to a total of close to 4 STU in payouts. Not much, it would amount to a nice Venti Mocha Frappucino at Starbucks, but I think it is not about just money, but being appreciated for your work.

I think homework has left a very negative thought in most students’ minds, leading them towards running away from it instead of embracing the practice and the grind towards becoming better. Thus, I can’t wait to start paying them more through the use of Steemit and other apps such as Dsound to further motivate them the students to practice the language.

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I think there is still much to do and a long way towards creating a syllabus that runs off the Steemit blockchain. I believe in its potential for one reason. If you were to flip through the many research done on teaching language to students, the biggest challenge is motivation. Most are demotivated, fearful and unwilling to practice the language for fear of being ridiculed by their more proficient peers.

This has created a vicious cycle as due to the lack of practice, they never improve and this festers until when they start applying for a job. Then, they would realize that it is too late to start practicing. The payouts on Steemit mitigates this, offering the students something in return for doing something unpleasant. Hopefully one day, more of the teachers and even the institution, would see the use case of Steemit and start using it, then it would truly become the first Steemit school in real life.