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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

What keeps you going and motivated?

What keeps you going and motivated?

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The education field is not always what is envisioned when we are in college. The utopia idea of coming to school and all students learn at the same level is far from the reality of the situation. As educators, how to do you stay motivated through the politics, push on state standards, paper work, behavior problems, lack of parental involvement, and more?

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De'Aundrea Moore's picture
De'Aundrea Moore
New Teacher

What keeps me going is knowing that I'm making a difference in the lives of my students. I had students tell me that they wanted to come back and visit me all throughout their high school career. I also had a student write a letter telling me that she really enjoyed having me as a teacher. Things like that puts a smile on my face because I'm making a positive impact in students' lives.

Jennifer Kotzur's picture

I have discovered, as a pre-service teacher, that even when the world around the students are not providing the best influences, all you can do as a teacher is find reasons to want to stay with the profession or go into the profession. Nevertheless, you have to realize that you are making an impact in their lives and even when they want to give up, you have to realize that you are helping the future!

Kim's picture

Well, I'm in this profession for the money and all of the free time that we get, aren't you???
Seriously, though, I think that we all have a common passion and a common goal - teach and motivate those kids each and every day, no matter what!! The rewards are priceless and I don't think there is any other profession that has the same personal benefits as education.
Sure the job is tough, almost impossible at times. That's why we have groups like these, because having the support of positive teachers is invaluable (don't go to the teachers' lounge to find positive teachers because they're usually not there!)

BBate's picture

I have been teaching K-8 art for six years in a urban school. I see every age group and I can completely emphathize with you. Even after 6 years, I still have all same problems you have and then some. And I only see them one period a week! If I was with eighth graders every day, I would do my best to really get to know them. I have also found that when projects or assignments apply to things they are really interested in or just things that matter, they tend to behave a little better in my class. But like you, I also need help with crazy middle schoolers!

Donna S's picture

Kim's comment made me laugh out loud - all that free time and money! The sad part is critics believe that is what we do have. I have been teaching third grade for 23 years. For me, the most motivational part is that I know without doubt I make a difference in the lives of my students. The "little" things that keep me going are notes and drawings on my desk, hugs, smiles, that sudden glow of excitement when something finally makes sense, etc. I try to associate myself with positive people. If I can tell myself I honestly did my very best at the end of each day, then I am satisfied. (Critics be darned.)

Karen's picture

It is such a challenging profession. I stay because teaching is a purposeful endeavor. I endure because the children are worth it. I may be exhausted, but it's my calling. Literally. :)

Karen's picture

Teaching is a purposeful life. I may be totally exhausted much of the time, but I stay for the children. It's meaningful work. :)

Brenda's picture

It is motivating to me to read other posts about how important the students really are to all of you. Obviously we aren't in it for the pay or the control of what we test. My motivation come from hearing that a student loves coming to school or that they "get it" now. It is also helpful for me to have the summer break to get recharged and get fresh ideas.

Natalie R.'s picture

I agree that education is not the Utopian environment we may have imagined as undergraduates studying to become teachers! There are many things that try our patience and burn us out. I think the thing that keeps me most motivated is the students I teach. Even if it is only a small achievement, helping a student succeed and learn is great motivation! Another motivation is being in a job that allows me to be creative and do new things everyday. I look at other jobs where people do the same thing day in and day out, and that motivates me to stick with my job! And finally, encouragement from other teachers motivates me to keep doing what I am doing.

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