I think we all wish we had more of it. That we were motivated to do what we have to do. Some days, we’re really motivated to get at the tasks at hand. Other days, not so much. And then there are those days were motivation has taken a vacation and hasn’t even bothered to send a postcard. You have no idea where it is!
Teaching online has presented me with ample opportunity to explore motivation. My own motivation ebbs and flows depending on the time of day and how I am feeling along with other physiological factors. One thing is for sure, I can’t wait for motivation happen so I can do things. Instead, I know I need to do things and therefore channel my energy to focus what needs to be done. I have found that focusing on those things that don’t motivate me and doing them regularly helps me to develop my daily practice. Those things I do each day no matter because it is what I need to do. Seth Godin, in his book The Practice explains that these are the things that are essential for us to get better and improve. That instead of always searching for something we are passionate about, we need to decide to be passionate about what we do. We show up each and every day to do what it is we need to do in order to improve and grow. Thus, as a teacher, there are things I need to do that aren’t things I am passionate about. But to grow and develop as a teacher, I need to do these different things.
Oh, to Create
As a teacher, I am more motivated to create than provide feedback. The process of creation and exploration require less push to step into than when I have to provide feedback and assessment. However, because I know that the feedback is important for students, I’ve begun to prioritize giving feedback, looking to reframe my approach. It’s not my passion but I am passionate about being a better teacher. So, I have begun to work on shifting from the editor/corrector to guide/mentor, trying to focus on strengths and the provide support to explore and expand. This shift fits much better with the inquiry/exploration I try do this when planning. I am really trying to think of what we do as more explorations, to see what we discover and find.
All this began with my noticing that students’ motivation is waning. They aren’t showing up as early in the morning to log on and not as many are staying around at noon to chat. The rate of participation has dropped and they are listless. I don’t need to see them to sense their energy levels dipping.
I was wondering if it’s the online environment but recall that even in the classroom, once the days grew longer and the warm weather began, students were much the same. I had to remind myself today that, no, this isn’t out of the ordinary. Instead of wishing things were ‘normal’ and trying to pin this off on ‘the year’, that if we were in school it would be different, I have to adjust my mindset to this is normal now. This is what led to my thinking about motivation, what we do in the classroom and the role I choose. How do I find the positive and shift my mindset to change how I approach this situation? So tomorrow, as we begin our day, instead of moving through our morning meeting like we usually do, I’m going to switch it up a bit. It’s time for me to guide and support more. I know they need to have more input. To have ‘skin in the game’ so to speak.
I’ll let you know how it goes!
Until tomorrow, remember, every day is a PD day.