Recently, I’ve been learning a lesson in another part of my life that applies rather well here. Put simply, we are all human. As teachers, we are pretty goal oriented people. We have a vision of how we want things to go in our classroom. Having a goal is great. Part of successfully achieving a goal is knowing that you are going to fail along the way. Crash and burn–how ever you want to put it. We could pretend like getting burnt out and messing up isn’t going to ever happen, but that’s unrealistic. Put in the words of Jim Bailey, we’re all going to catch the reading GERM. We will hit a point of monotony where we become burnt out on what we’re doing. What’s important is how we react. Do we let our reading GERM become a chronic illness, or do we kick it to the curb like the pesky head cold it is?
Bailey’s article really stuck with me, because I found it to be so true. I saw it as a reminder. A reminder that things aren’t always smooth sailing in the world of education. It’s what you make of it that determines your outcome. He found a way to push through his frustrations and create positive change for his school. His persistence and refusal to let things be as they were was inspiring to me. Bailey is also another testimony of a reoccurring theme of our class: reading choice=reading success!
This week I learned teachers aren’t the only ones that can get burnt out or frustrated. Students can too. As teachers, how do we help a student that has zero interest in reading? Pernille Ripp’s article is filled with extremely practical and effective ways to inspire students to read. If you have not read it, I highly recommend you do so now! Her tips are super simple and easy to implement into the classroom.
Bottom line, when lack of motivation strikes (whether that be from the student or teacher), we need to arm ourselves with plenty of persistence. Be willing to try something. And if it doesn’t work, be willing to try something else. We have so many resources at our disposal that the right answer to spark someone’s motivation is out there–it’s just a matter of finding it. The moment we stay stagnant is the moment we risk failing. If we do not quit, we cannot fail.