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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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George Cassutto's picture
George Cassutto
8th Grade Civics

I agree that making a difference in the lives of students is the primary motivation in teaching. But there is also the idea of sharing a subject area about which I feel passionate that comes to mind. I teach 8th Grade Civics. In a nation where we extol the virtues of democracy and human rights, it is important to me that my students learn to share these values. Moreover, as the child of Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands, I teach history and government to help students learn how to accept each other in spite of differences in race and culture. These ideas are motivators for me.

George Cassutto
Teacher, Author Webmaster


Becky Cudini's picture

I too am motivated by my student's success. I have found this past year to be more of a challenge being that I made a huge grade level shift. I have had to learn what student success means to an eighth grader verses a first grader. I do miss the fun nature of elementary school and often feel a lack of motivation when I am unable to do a fun activity. In an elementary setting it is very easy to incorporate those little things. This is my first time blogging and I am very eager to learn from educators beyond my normal social network. I continue to stay positive, if we are motivated, our students are too motivated!

Erin M's picture

I agree that the education profession is one that is full of frustrations and not the "utopia" I once envisioned, either. I had many wonderful, joy filled days teaching, but I also had many days where I left feeling defeated and frustrated, and even wondered if I really wanted to be a teacher and if it was all "worth it." After five years of teaching, I relocated to a different state and in the transition took a job working in an office. For me it really took a giant step back to see that despite the frustrations I faced int he classroom, there is really no where else I would rather be. Where else can I know that I am making a difference and making an impact on a child's life? My classroom was a place where I was able to learn and grow, interact with children and colleagues on a day to day basis, and know that I was doing something valuable with my life each and every day. Although I am not currently in the classroom, I know that when I return, remembering what it was like NOT to be in the classroom will be what keeps me going on the difficult days. Be encouraged knowing that what you are doing is valuable and so rewarding, even in the midst of frustrations.

Lindsay Thompson's picture
Lindsay Thompson
4th grade teacher from MI

Hi all. It was very uplifting to read all of your posts. Thank you for all your inspitation! This is one of my very first posts ever. I have never blogged before, however as a requirement of a current class I'm taking, we are to share our experiences with blogging. Well, I have none, so. . .here I go! I'm giving it a try! I have visited many different blogging sites, read many posts, questions, comments, ect., and I just feel overwhelmed! I feel that I barely have time to do the laundry, dishes, and see my family, let alone teach 30 students, grade papers, plan meaningful lessons, attend committee meetings and staff meetings, take Master's classes . . .and blog! I see the value in it, and would love to be a part of it, but how? I am maxed out every single day. I am sure I can't be the only teacher to feel these pressures and time constraints. I'd appreciate any advice or input. THANKS!

SHANTA REED's picture

I totally agree with you! it is very difficult being a teacher and a mother. I never knew that being a teacher would have so many demands. There are times when I would just like to walk away from the education field because i feel as if I have no time for myself or my children and my family is very important to me. I feel that maybe if my children were older things would be better, but because they still require so much of my attention (ages 6 and 2) it is very difficult to meet all of the demands of being a mother, a student, and a teacher.

SHANTA REED's picture

I was not originally an education major, but I always knew that I would become a teacher. We do hold ideas of a utopic workplace before we actually become engaged in it. It is appealling because of the holidays and vacation time, but considering all of the demands that are placed on teachers, you have to wonder is it truly worth it?

SHANTA REED's picture

My motivation lies in the hopes that each day I will inspire at least one to student to always give their best and to become successful in their lives. Being emplyed at a school where graduation rates are low and consequently the rate of those who go on to college, I still have hold that hope for them, simply because I can relate to their situations.

Alison's picture

I agree that the students are what is most important. Sometimes it is very easy to get caught up in the politics and toxic culture that exist in many schools and school systems. However, there always seems to be a moment when a child reminds us why we teach. The moment when a student understands or shows appreciation always seems to be a reminder as to why we started our profession in the first place.

opal williams's picture

What keeps me going? Knowing that I make a difference in the world. I thrive on having a purpose filled life. I enjoy what I do and couldn't imagine getting up daily not loving my career. Of course education has its challenges, but knowing that I will always be remembered for doing something positive in a child's life makes all of the challenges worth it.

N. McDavid's picture

I stay motivated through my inspiration and love for my students (the reason why I became a teacher).

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