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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?

Related Tags: Teacher Burnout
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80 Replies 3700 Views

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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Candace's picture
Fourth grade science and social studies teacher

Today was one of those days where I wondered,"What am I doing?!". After I had time to unwind with my family, I was able remember. I care about my students education. It's the hope that I can break their cycle of poverty and hopelessness. To inspire them to be the very best that they can be. That's what keeps me going.

Darleen Saunders's picture

Anyone seeing a pattern here? Seems like almost every teacher is doing this for the children. And after all, they are ultimately who matters most. Count me in too.

Darleen Saunders's picture

I'm seeing a pattern here. Anyone else see it too?
Count me in as being here for the children as well.

Karen Szobocsan's picture

What keeps me going and motivated is just seeing my students come into class excited to be there. I teach elementary physical education and when I first started the students did not enjoy coming to class. Now every morning when I see students they say hello and some come up and give me a hug. Some days the students just say the nicest things. It is almost like they know when you are having a bad day, one little thing can cheer you up. A professor of mine in college once said, "if you love what you do you will never work another day in your life" I think this is very true. Some days may be harder than others but when you see the smiles or get those great hugs it's no long a job it's just another day.

Charlotte B.'s picture

Teaching is career that you have to love. In order to stay motivated, I have to ask myself "do I still love my job?" I love teaching and with anything or any type of job- there will be challenges. Unless you are the person in charge and making all the rules, my suggestions is to remember that you love your job, give 100% to what you have to work with, then work on ideas that can help initiate a change for the issues that you are unhappy with. If you can't deal with issues that come along with a job/career ...ask yourself. "Do I really love my job."

Stan's picture

Stanley Heron
Math Instructor

I have been teaching for some time and by most estimations I am regarded as a "veteran" teacher.
But when I viewed Nieto's depiction of the three components of competent pedagogy (knowkedge of subject matter, pedagogy and culture) I really wonder where I stanf in the continuoum. I am somewhat comforted in the knowledge that the preocess we engage is a spiraling and never ending endeavour, where satisfaction is imbedded in the journey itself and that we constattly evolve into higher standards of competence.
I am embroiled in the current drive directed by my administration to focus on the standards based model which regulates instruction and outlines specific teaching techniques while pprescribing a sequence of preoared lessons. My problem is that I feel that I am losing my creativity and that my children are been buffeted into a sensless daze by a barrage of pre,post and "all the in between" tests designed for... What?
What keeps motivated is the same thing that brought me into the profession in the first place: a desire to be an agent of transformation and to help to affect the lives if my children in a positive way

Stan's picture

Thanks Michelle, your thought provoking and insightful query. I am a math teacher and soccer coach and I truly enjoy the variety of interaction my dual role affords. Students in my math classes (both male and female) who play the game are are more responsive and respectful because of the common things we share.
One aspect of my professional development that I have highly underrated is meaningful collaboration- the type that enhances our efficacy and addresses the whole child while enabling us to really enjoy the application of our best practices (not someone else's. I think that we are being minimized by a system that is too quick to overlook the "human element".

T Battle's picture

What keeps me going and motivated whenever I feel like throwing in the towel is when a student has an "a-ha" moment when the light bulb comes on and they really understand. This is such a joy to experience firsthand. Many times as educators we don't realize the impact we can have in a child's life. They look up to us and we owe it to them to give our best.

T Battle's picture

This is so true! With any career just like in life you will have good and bad days. You have to choose a career with challenges you can live with.

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