Motivation for a teacher

“ The teacher has to have the energy of the hottest volcano, the memory on an elephant and the diplomacy of an ambassador” — Patrick J. Eggleton (1999) When I first read this, I could not agree more. It seemed relevant to me for the past 3 months. Working in Convent school is like riding a roller coaster. You need to speed all the way and at the same, you scream — because you cannot tolerate speeding up. My energy level was in need to always recharge so that I can think and do things. Everything was like non-stop. At the same time, I need to teach and handle the girls in the classroom — working on with lesson plans is a must, I was a practical teacher. You surely need the memory on an elephant so that you can return their profile in time, remember who is in charge for collecting the books and bring your marker pen to the class! Despite these, you require to back all things up professionally. As we know, you must explain the reasons to your pupils all the time, professionally like an ambassador — this means teacher must not bring emotion to the school. It is not easy — ended up, when I got back, I was completely flat and nearly burned out. For the second thought I wonder how if some teachers cannot tolerate the pressure. They are many teachers who burned out in teaching profession because they think they could not meet the ridiculous expectations of being a teacher (Moore, 2008). Then I realised that these words (quotes) are just expectations of a teacher. Meeting very long list expectations of being a teacher is not always easy. It is tiring and unsure — you just do not know when you are working at your best. Therefore, I can conclude that despite trying to change the expectations of being a teacher — which can be very difficult and nearly impossible, it sounds nicer for teachers to find their own motivation to keep them teaching. As for myself, yes I could not avoid or run away from the expectations — it is everywhere but I can motivate myself. I can look for it and create my very own atmosphere in my school — or just my class. Clear you eyes of can’t and you may want to start trying now. For the past 3 months, I was looking for motivation. I was reluctant to just do what I need to do — lesson plans, reports and reflections. It made me sick and insecure. I do not like the person I am and will be from working at school — getting angry all the time or loosing voice. So I need motivation — I started off by looking at my personality as a teacher. Motivation through your personality I look for motivation within myself first. I know I must start off with myself. Undoubtedly, motivation that lies in teacher personality can be the hardest part especially when you ought to change — I thought it is! However, it is not I must change or pretend when I am teacher and just be myself when I am not in the school. There are some issues regarding this — formality, procedures of attires and so on. I kept asking why we need all this. Does attire very important to show identity? I was confused because it did not make sense to me. But now, I do not want the answer. If attire can reveal to you who the teacher is, I am going to reveal to you, it is I who the teacher is. So I do not argue about it anymore because I am going to show them a teacher. I found Escalante (1988 as cited in Meek, 1989) could be true when he mentioned that you can disguise yourself with what you wear but you cannot disguise yourself from who you are so the best teachers are to appear human. I am going to tell you what appear human means to me — it could vary depending on different people. It may look so little and trifles but I dare to say it worked out for me in the school. I started off with greeting the pupils first. As much as how I want people to greet me first — to get socialise especially, so I did that first. I am connecting my nature of human beings to the school — appearing human. I decided to greet first because at that time, I did not teach year 6 so I was a bit annoyed by the way they did not greet and look at me — hello, I am your teacher, too! I was reluctant to be ignorant — ignorance cannot be always worked out. Surprisingly, after 2 days I greeted the pupils first the year 6 girls started to smile — and recognise me. It is not it that I want. I just want them to feel comfortable with me. I could feel and tell you that there was a huge difference air I breathe between the day I did not greet and the one I greeted. It was absolutely a lovely feeling. Too much surprise, I came across a very wonderful survey from an experienced teacher, Angela Maiers. She stated that within 20 years of surveying what the best teacher is from the students — regardless their religion, economic status or background, ‘ greet me first each day’ has the highest criteria of best teacher (2008). Yes, that motivates me to attend the school on the next day and more to come. The next and until the last day of practicum I had been practicing this — to all pupils, even the secondary one I enjoyed doing it. I am a lot secured and pleasant. So work out your nature and wear it as your personality. It is worth it — you do not have to really wear it, it is in you. Motivation through your roles There were at times where I could not bear with the fact that I knew so little and need to know more that I know — I encountered a few problems that I could not answer the pupils. I thought that this is the meaning of a teacher — you are responsible to know more than the pupils. You are accountable to solve anything. How is that possible? It may require years to come out with a great problem solver. It demotivated me — the fact that I have so little on mind yet I am a teacher. I could feel the heaviness in the brain. It is too much. Teachers sometime do not know anything — this is normal! I am not responsible for knowing all things they might ask me nor responsible to tell everything I know. So what is my role? Hazeltine’s point (2006) could be relevant as she mentioned that teachers are not important because of what they know — pupils can find out themselves if they want but teachers are important to make learning significant, fun and possible. She added that most of teachers can get their pupils A’s — just drill, give and answer questions but only a few teachers can make them want to learn. Teachers are to ensure that learning is possible everywhere, anytime and in any condition or situation. So which one am I? I know what I want — it is just I need a push or pressure to start with. I want them to love learning. It may sound so ambiguous but it is not impossible and I believe in doing it. As quoted by Hazeltine (2006), “ if you do not feel good about your ability to meet challenges, you have just wasted 4 years and $200, 000″ Motivation through your pupils In my opinion, this is the easiest way you can get the motivation to teach. It is your pupils who motivate you to teach. I dare to say because of the pupils themselves that I stood and kept moving most of the time. It is because of them I looked for the best activities in my lesson plan. This is our business. You give them; they give you — without a doubt but how much you give and how much they take? It all depends on you. There was one time I was completely worn out. I nearly gave up teaching because I could not bear the fact that I need to do so many things includes what is unrelated to my profession. I could not bear the high pressure of getting A’s that we forget about learning is fun. As a result, I decided to just follow the flow — please, I am not going to do this anymore. I must act! The moment that I decided to just follow was the moment where my pupils came to my table and said, ‘ Miss Noreen now is your time. We all waited for you’. Well, I have never ever expected that. That is motivation. The pupils moved me to teach — to give my very best to teach. Since that moment, everytime I feel giving up, the pupils seek to motivate me, always. I had and have always taken hold that motivation here in heart. I touch future and they are the future. I could say that during my practicum time I have never used textbooks’ activities and photocopied exercises books everywhere and just give them to do. I have never ever taken granted my no-observation-today time to do what I want. It is not me being this wonderful — it is the pupils boosted up their teacher’s motivation. All the worksheets are created by me — designs, pictures, activities. I spent hours to do one worksheet. I just love doing it — I am completely a moved teacher. Can we do that, clear your eyes of can’t. It’s about how you see it. I purposely choose motivation because I believe in it. I do not have the whole knowledge in hand but I have my experiences to share and tell. I value my experiences because I believe in making my experiences educational. For the very and every starter of any job, everyone needs motivation. I am not saying about other profession nor comparing with them. I affirm that motivation must be developed. It is not there to reach but it is there for you to find it. Please avoid being bald and have fun in teaching. Everyone will feel the joy of every job they do and this – is mine. References Eggleton, J, P. (1999). Motivation: A key to effective teaching. Retrieved from http://math. coe. uga. edu/TME/Issues/v03n2/Eggleton. pdf Hazeltine, B. (2006). Being an effective teacher. The teaching exchange, 11(2), 1-3.