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.

  1. 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.  
  2. 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.  
  3. 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.  
  4. 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!

Comments

I´ve just read your motivation blog and I really appreciate your reflections as I´m researching blogs as part of an online Professional Development Course. I can relate to the pre-Christmas nose dive my motivational drive seems to suffer and the moments when it disappears altogether into the ether! But here I am all the same back at it again and taking another step forwards on my own journey. When I wonder why I always think of the wonderful moments when something works well and I notice the students are engaged in some idea or activity and we travel on together. I´m looking forward to 2016 and hopefully learning more about teaching!

Thank you so much for your comment, Pamela! It's comforting to know that we can all relate to these glimpses of demotivation - we flow through highs and lows and motivation is inevitably part of the circle of life. I suppose what has changed for me is that I take action now and try to see what I can learn from those moments of disappointment or discouragement. This new attitude has helped me rediscover motivation when I most need it.

In my opinión, it´s not lack of motivation; I have to deal with lack of energy to finish the year properly. I work so hard during the year that at the end I feel so stressed and tired with lots of work to do. Let us teachers not be too strict, as you said highs and lows are part of the circle of life, so we have to live it as it comes; the difference is in the way we face the difficulties and overcome those "common little problems" that we all experience in teaching.

Thank you for your message, Sonia. You're right in saying that it's not lack of motivation that prevents us from making the day (or the year) sometimes. It's true that our profession can be extrememely challenging both physically and emotionally. I agree with you that it's the way we approach the obstacles that will inevitably come our way that makes all the difference!

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