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Student Motivation & 2020

Andrea is a fifth year teacher with 10+ years of experience in education. Her passion is education and being a lifelong student.

Motivation the Key to Success

As a fifth year teacher and over ten years of experience in education, I have seen many things but nothing like this past year. As we slowly emerge from the disarray of 2019 and 2020 has caused I noticed students lack of perseverance. Other than the regression that has occurred over the past year and a half I have noticed students struggling to work through difficulties. It is easier to give up then to work through failure. As an educator how do we touch on student’s internal motivation and partner with parents to do the same. In our society instant gratification is a swipe away. With a tap we can buy groceries, order dinner, find entertainment and even a date.

How can we navigate this ever changing culture? How do we help students realize hard work will be more beneficial for them in the future than seeking instant gratification?

We can start in the classroom. We hear so many stories about professionals failing many times before they get a big win. It’s not as easy as it seems. Research has shown how effective feedback can greatly improve outcomes. We may tell out students that failure is a stepping stone toward the big goal. In reality it is the constructive or informal feedback that can have the biggest impact on students’ academic success.

I love to tell students “it is okay to fail, but it’s not ok to give up”. A motivating quote that is supposed to impact their internal motivation but what if they don’t know how to turn that failure into a stepping stone.

Let’s show students how to be successful. Let’s give them the tools that they need to turn that failure into a stepping stone. Feedback can have a big influence on students when done correctly. Interacting with students, involving them in the process and reshaping assignments, assessments and activities can affect students. We are given a road map and the destination is students reaching learning objectives. Every map has a back road. Let’s highlight those back roads and give all students the opportunities to find success in every assignment and assessment.

Educators need to involve parents more than ever in their child’s education. Give those honest grades, honest feedback and set expectations. Expectations should not only be set for students but their parents/ guardians as well. I think sometimes teachers are afraid to upset parents about student’s grade and they may fluff them up. How are parents supposed to know where their child is struggling if we hold back the truth of their learning? Tell parents were their child is falling behind and tell them what they need to do at home to help their child be successful. Parents also need to know learning is hard at times, its messy and frustrating. It is also rewarding and inspiring. Let’s tell parents that it’s okay that their child is not at grade level, that they struggling with addition and comprehension is hard for them. If we pinpoint exactly where students are failing and share that with the team, then we can make progress. Give parents the power to help their child be successful.

Lastly, set those high expectations, tell students and their families, failure is only a step towards their goal but also give them the map and tools to find success. We begin to fill parents tool belts but also their child’s . We will start to see students become self-sufficient, self-sustained and thriving learners.

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