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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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Jessica Waldman's picture
Jessica Waldman
Special Education Teacher

Hey Michelle,

I am in my 4th year of teaching and I couldn't agree more about the college preparation for teachers. I had NO idea the politics, poor teachers, meetings and paperwork would be so time consuming. When stressful meetings and negativity from other teachers get me down, I focus my energy on students. Watching the light bulb go on or seeing them excited about school makes my day! I also feel really motivated to come to work each day to see them! Just last night we had parent teacher conferences and I was literally bouncing off of the walls because I was able to not only share positive things about students but parents and students gave me positive/thankful feedback as well. I learned early that I work in a thankless profession...so hearing that I make a difference, makes my day (maybe even week) and keeps me motivated and focused on what is really important...the kids.

pamnripley's picture
pre-k teacher

To see those little smiles each morning is so rewarding. Sometimes they are crying, but I get to hold and comfort them. It's kind of being their part time mommy. So many of the comments have talked about students with not so good homelives. It seems to be an epidemic of homes that have a sense of "It's my life and I'm doing what I want" sort of lifestyle. The children seem to be put on the back burner. Parents don't want to help with the simplest of homework. When you get bored, frustrated, or ready to quit, just look into the eyes of your students and see the many questions they may have and tell yourself that you may be the only positive person in their life. Pam

Sophia's picture
Teacher,Orlando Florida

Thinking of different ways to teach the same topic and making it more interesting and fun is what keeps me going. I like challenging my students and making them thin all the time. I donot let their minds go idle. I love the way they get excited when they are able to overcome the challenges and feel accomplished. I also get motivation out of reading articles and scientific researches about different studies in educational research.

Erica Delgado's picture

What motivates me as a teacher? I would have to say it is the excitement on my students faces when they are enjoying every minute of school. I love the moments when I see my students jumping out of their seats so anxious to participate in the discussion or answer a question. Just the look on their faces is enough to keep me going. These students have a lot of challenges in their life and to be a person in their life that makes them happy and smile is a very rewarding experience.

Jameka's picture

What keeps me going? I have been teaching for six years and the key for my motivation is in the faces of my children. I love to see my students get excited about learning, and I love the affection that they give me. This may be from a hug, a smile, or from a simply "thank you". When I feel like giving up; I often reflect on moments of love and care in my classroom.

Vicki Dowd's picture

I am really touched with the positive tone of your postings. I too am still in this due to the students. I have had challenges as I am sure many of you had, but the rewards for outweigh the negatives. Thanks for sharing.

Zakiyyah Watts's picture

As teachers, we are put in the position of changing lives. I can see the difference I make with most of my students. However, if all but one of your students shows any concern for their learning, how do you reach that one student when you have tried just about everything to turn the student around?

Ms. Wright's picture

I am more motivated now than I was before I started Graduate School. I am taking a class now that has really opened my eyes and reminded me of the real reason I became a teacher. I think that the more you learn about your students and yourself the more motivated you will become. Also the more we as teachers educate ourselves we will stay motivated.

Kathy Shelburne's picture

I would have to agree with Ms. Wright's comments about being motivated because of my enrollment in the Graduate Program and especially this course, Teacher as Professional. I felt like it would be a repeat of a course I had already taken. However, this class and the exciting challenge of a new classroom this year has energized me and helped me to find stronger motivation to excel in my classroom. It is encouraging, insightful and helpful to share with others about their challenges and successes. I hope I can contribute as much as I receive.

Tanesha Finley's picture
Tanesha Finley
7th grade math, Mendenahll, MS

What keeps me motivated as a teacher is my students and my own child. I love what I do aside from the challenges I face everyday. No matter how much my students disappoint me with their behavior or with their lack of motivation or care about their education, at the end of the day, they are just children, and I love my job. I am upset about all these standards the government place on education and there lack of support for it; this would be a perfect world if parents were held more accountable than teacher. But asides from all the frustration with all the politics that come from this career, this is the most rewarding occupation, because WE do make a difference.

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