In modern societies, the question of the good life is thoroughly privatized. This means that everyone has to judge for him- or herself what to do with their lives and how to lead (or not to lead) it. Teachers certainly are not meant to teach their pupils how to live or how to lead a life. Nevertheless, there can be little doubt that the globalized high-speed-world of late-modern societies requires a vast number of complex cultural competencies and dispositions for individuals to successfully cope with the challenges of everyday life. This article explores the hidden ways in which young people acquire their basic orientations, or their «moral maps», which define their patterns of living and action, the goals and aspirations as well as the strategies they pursue in everyday life as well as in long-term planning. The classroom and the schoolyard seem to be of overriding importance in this respect, for it is here that kids develop their strategies of recognition-seeking and distinction, their strong evaluations and their fundamental definition of existential problems, and finally their strategies for balancing long-term and short-term issues and selecting options.

Keywords: The good life, The hidden curriculum, Everyday life, High speed modernity, Children’s strategies, Recognition