Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Kick start motivation

I often speak about motivating students. But, teachers are the greatest “givers” of time, knowledge, and experience. But you can’t give what you don’s got. Foremost, to motivate students we must be motivated to improving ourselves. Without this desire, it is like the Toronto Maple Leafs wanting to win the Stanley Cup at the beginning of the season; then can’t find the will, the time, or the energy to work at that goal. The bottom line: we must push ourselves to get better. No one else can work at our motivation.

So how do I feed this desire? What if I don’t have the inclination? I would argue that you have to put yourself in situations to view excellence greater than your own. There is nothing like watching the Wayne Gretzky’s of the world to instil in you the desire to be a better hockey player. The same is true for teaching. Look down in the classrooms of your school, read or view articles from some of the well-known authors like Sir Ken Robinson, Michael Fullan, Robert Marzano, Richard Dufour or Damian Cooper to name a few.

Second, find an area that you want focus on what you want to explore and bring into focus. Blog, journal, pen and reflect your accomplishments in the classroom. This includes the highs and the lows. The feelings that you attach to your own experiences represent new learning and the fuel to kick start your motivation.
Take a closer look at what your skilled colleagues are doing. What makes your colleagues so successful? What are her techniques? What are her skills? Invite a trusted colleague to visit your classroom and give you feedback. With permission, videotape your “performance” in front of a class. This allows us to see very clearly our behaviours, our procedures, and our strategies close up and personal. Review your evaluation reports. Seek out one or two concrete suggestions for improvement.

Third prioritize your areas of improvement and measure your progress. Brainstorm your top 10 areas of improvement. Establish a timeline and measure your success. For example, you might want to explore strategies to increase student engagement. Research it, read about it, talk about it, watch it and finally set a deadline for incorporating these strategies.

Most importantly celebrate your success. I believe we often overlook the opportunity to celebrate our growth and achievement. Savouring that success fuels us to keep motivated. Focus on progressing steadily rather than leaping to the next goal. Maintain a belief that nothing in education is beyond your reach!

What is your story?

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