Oh, the dream day. You wake up after a full eight hours of sleep. You enjoy coffee and breakfast in peace and greet your students, who are smiling and ready. No one needs help staying motivated here!
You layout the day’s schoolwork and remind everyone “Only four more weeks till Summer Break!” The kids happily get right down to business, their love of learning and hunger for knowledge evident as they work without complaint toward new concepts and skills.
Are you laughing? Because I am. Let’s face it, we ALL struggle with the chasm between our vision and our reality. And the wider it gets, the harder it can be to maintain our desire to carry on. We ALL need help staying motivated, plain and simple. So, here it is:
I mean, does what I described ever actually happen? Only in movies and in the sweet dreams of mom- or teacher- sleep, I’d wager.
And yet, the work must be done. Even when the kids don’t want to. Even when the teacher doesn’t really want to!
So can we finish out the year when we’ve lost the desire to keep going and just want to quit? Isn’t it okay to start to gear down? We can make up for it in the fall, right? At times like this, what we really need is just a little help staying motivated!
My advice: Commit. Or, rather, re-commit. Re-commit to seeing the year out strong. The last lessons of the year are just as important as the first ones.
Here are a few ideas on how to re-commit and make the final push toward a strong finish.
1. Write it down. Think back and try to remember your goals from the beginning of the school year. Why are you doing what you’re doing? Think back, remember, and write it down where you can see it from time to time. The reminder of the end goal can help you muscle through.
2. Communicate your commitment. First, to your spouse or your BFF or someone who wants to see you succeed. Accountability is an amazing way to make sure you follow through. Then, tell your students, at a calm time, that you are resolved to see the year out strong and you expect them to follow suit.
3. Fake it till you make it. Yes, that’s right. The intrinsic love of learning or excelling is a very noble goal–and I think it’s achievable. But the simple truth is: we don’t all feel it all the time. So if you need external rewards for yourself or for your students to make it happen right now, use them!
Just remember, the best reasons to reward students are for hard work, effort, and signs of growing character. That approach will help them develop an intrinsic love of learning, over simply plying them with treats that they’ll come to expect at the end of every lesson.
Look, you chose this path for a reason–maybe several good reasons! And taking on the role of teacher is so important and good! But as the leader in the classroom, you set the tone. I know how hard it is to stay focused on school when the birds are chirping and the sunshine is calling.
That’s why I am here to remind you what needs to happen when you find you need help staying motivated! Our kids need us to set the example of what it looks like to keep working when we want to do anything except work.
So take heart. Summer really is closing in on us, and the end is in sight. You can finish strong and send your kids into their break with a head full of knowledge and a heart that’s ready to relish the break. Recommit now and before you know it, you’ll be putting a bow on a solid school year.
Talk to you soon,
Nicole the Math Lady