The last few days of the year are always a time for reflection and an opportunity to appreciate those moments that have helped us grow and - hopefully- become better inidividuals. For the last post of the year, I decided to look back on all those moments that have encouraged me to keep going and reminded me of the beauty of teaching. Instead of sharing the moments themselves, I would like to focus more on the lessons learned through them.
- Motivation is a journey, not a destination: I often tell my students that learning is a journey into the unknown, with highs and lows, moments of pride and success, but also lots of obstacles. It's the same for us, teachers, though. In order for our kids to stay motivated, we need to be driven and passionate ourselves. It's not an easy process, that's why I'm thankful for my students and the times when they gave me the strength I needed to carry on.
- Motivation is hard work: I have realized that the most "demotivating" period for me is the 2 weeks before the Christmas break. It's the time when I feel I'm drained and need someone to drag me to move on. For years I did nothing special about it and just counted the days to the Christmas break. It's been a few years now though that I've started a cycle of "MMs" whenever I realize I lack motivation to keep going. MMs stands for Moments of Motivation, a type of motivation journal where I write down the most empowering class moments of every day. It has definitely helped me appreciate and value those pre-Christmas lessons more.
- Motivation can easily fade away: Not all learning moments are successful. I decided to start learning Swedish through a learning application this summer. I was really determined and hard-working the first 3 weeks - the whole idea of learning a new language excited me so much! However, after a month or so I realized my enthusiasm was waning. Eventually, I gave Swedish up, but hopefully I will get back to it later on in the future.
- Motivation equals acceptance: The proudest moments for me as a teacher are always the ones when I realize that my students have become the people they want to become. In order to achieve anything in life, you need to come to terms with who you are, accept your individuality and find your place in the world and therefore in the learning journey. Obviously, the same works for teachers as well. There will undoubtedly be many times when we question our skills and qualities as teachers. That's when we need to look inside and accept who we are and what we can offer others.
Motivation is an ongoing process that takes time, devotion and a lot of energy. Let's hope 2016 will offer us lots of inspiring moments that will keep us committed to teaching and learning!