I’ve been thinking about motivation lately. It’s November which is typically when we see students (and staff) start to lose their drive as the weather is getting colder, it’s getting darker earlier, and for many people, it’s a long stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas break. On the whole, I feel very grateful that I don’t usually have the November blahs, but I can appreciate that many people do.

I love learning and I especially love all my time in the classroom, so for me, I find I lose motivation to do things I love outside the classroom (like write this blog, exercise, and get enough sleep). Even though all of those activities are excellent for my mental and physical health, I have let them fall by the wayside over the last year. In reflecting back, it’s fascinating that I didn’t realize I wasn’t doing some of the activities I love. It actually shocked me that before my last three most recent blog posts, my last one was written in February!?!?! I went seven months without writing anything and I didn’t even notice. I love to write here (even though not many people read it) because the act of writing helps me mull over and clarify my thinking about different ideas. It’s not that I haven’t been thinking, wondering, pondering, researching, connecting, discussing, or learning the last seven months, it’s more that I didn’t feel motivated to write and share my thinking.

So, how does this reflection help me today?

Well, it helps me empathize with my students. Writing is an activity I enjoy and I didn’t engage in it for quite some time. I can understand that for many students, writing is a struggle and not how they want to be expressing their thinking (a necessary and important component in the English curriculum) but I can understand on a deeper level where they are coming from now.

Empathizing with students is important, but what is perhaps more crucial is that I have deconstructed why I didn’t feel motivated to write and have thought about strategies to help bring me back to an activity that I love. For me, the major aspect is that I often don’t realize I’ve let something slip until I get reminded somehow and then think to check on where I left off. I had a feeling that I hadn’t written in a long time, but truly didn’t realize it was seven months ago. It’s sad that I let myself go that long without writing, but at the same time, it’s given me the opportunity to engage in self reflection leading to personal growth. I know now that I need to make time for these important aspects of life and that even when I may be feeling unmotivated, I need to check myself and look to my progress (or lack thereof) to continue to guide me on my journey.

Even though I felt disappointment at the lack of writing, I am grateful. Grateful that I have had the opportunity to reflect, grow, and find my motivation again. It’s from these experiences that I will be able to connect more with my students as truly life is the learning journey and one of the best lessons we can give our students is showing them that sometimes you have to dig deep to find that lost motivation and drive in order to attain your goals.

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