A little bit ago, I posted an article with a video in it. A number of you wrote and said it helped, and I thank you for that. The video mentioned a second part, and I want to share the second part today.
The question is: As we're working to up our student motivation knowledge and skills, how do we not become demotivated ourselves?
- Expect obstacles and problems and mishaps. After all, Marly attacks.
- Approach all problems with student motivation as if they are logical. What happens if you assume that, were you that student, you would be presenting the same motivational profile as they are?
- It's not about you — you are a minor character in your students' lives. You're not even in the Cliffs Notes.
- View student motivation issues as a puzzle. What if they were fun and interesting rather than exhausting and frustrating?
- Promote vs. guarantee — one of them is our job, one is impossible. The difference between these two words is critical to us not going crazy.
- Cultivate humble-boldness. It's a thing. It's important.
- Take this class with a friend. And no, not just because misery loves company.
- Decrease time spent with compulsive complainers. Heed Lewis' warning — don't become a walking, talking complaint. (Here's an extended case against complaining.)
- Do a post-mortem and then move on. After things go bad, write down what happened, why you think that happened, and what you can do differently next time. And then discipline yourself to move on.
- Weed your garden. A journal helps.
Want to keep going? Consider registering for the course. Here are some tips we wrote to help you ask your admin for help.
Julia Semsick says
This is IT. I’m not a commenter, but I’m compelled to type a word here. Dave, listening to you is like listening to an long-time friend who understands. As a first year teacher, I approach the end of this semester with a mix of elation and dread. “We made it…not sure quite how. What will the Spring semester bring?” Your words are a balm to the dread and lighten the load of care. I appreciate you and your continued work in and out of the classroom. Keep. This. Going. My Christmas present this year will be the Student Motivation Course.
Dave Stuart Jr. says
Julia, thank you my friend — I really need encouragement like this sometimes 🙂
Brad Barrett says
Ya! Dave refers to The Great Divorce, by C.S. Lewis!
This is SUCH a brilliant course by Dave. One of the BEST lessons that I have ever downloaded into my thick scull is the idea of approaching student motivation as though the problem were a logical one (like a math problem). When you do this, it zaps the emotion right out of the equation and you get down to the fruitful work of actually figuring things out with the student. In fact, when I applied this to a particular student motivation issue this year, the lack of emotion allowed me to see how practical it was to just sit with the student during lunch and say to him, “Hey, can you help me with something? I’ve got this really great student who I know can engage with our class content but I’m having a hard time figuring out how to get em there. What would you do if you were me?” He gave me an “Oh crap, Mr. B is talking about me” grin and proceeded to make a few justifications (which was helpful background info on some family issues) and then he continued with a few really thoughtful suggestions. Needless to say, he presents to my class with a much more engaged demeanor. In addition, before the bell rings I’m able to drop the occasional, “Hey, how you holding up at home?” and this adds plenty of credibility and belonging.
If you haven’t read These 6 Things by Dave Stuart Jr, you are missing out on the most helpful teachers guidebook I’ve ever read (and wow, have I read many).
Dave Stuart Jr. says
Brad, what kindness and encouragement — just what I needed today! And thank you so much for sharing that These 6 Things is helpful — I couldn’t ask for more!
Elizabeth Woo says
JUST read The Great Divorce yesterday and watched this video today. Perhaps I’m being told to watch out for complaining.
Dave Stuart Jr. says
Elizabeth, I’m getting the same signals over here in my life these past few days!