When it comes to acquiring and maintaining the motivation to keep going in various areas of your life, such as within your career for example, I think us educators are a bit lucky because for as long as you may have been working in your career, there’s almost never a single day that goes by without the job giving you that much-needed motivation. Quite honestly, sometimes it could be something as self-serving as payday arriving just in time, while other times it’s almost serendipitous by way of something one of your learners may have said.
I’d like to zone-in on that for a moment, if I may – on just how much learners have to say, some of which really gets you thinking or simply delivers a lesson in areas of one’s life that transcend the academic setup?
On this particular occasion it was all sparked by a simple question asked by one of the learners who is admittedly known for her straight-talking as a representation of her logical, straight-thinking mind.
You sort of get to know your learners as you go along on your journey of delivering the annual curriculum, forming relationships and bonds especially with those who stay with you for a while, such as if you perhaps teach one or two of the same subjects through the levels. This particular learner’s approach to learning inspires me daily because she always seeks to ask the question we as educators want our students to ask, which is “why?”
Why are we about to study a certain chapter? What do we aim to achieve with the knowledge we’re supposedly to acquire through our study of that chapter?
This particular learner takes things a little beyond just asking why though, begging to perhaps come up with a better perspective when she can – a better way of doing it or simply just a way that makes better sense to her and is perhaps easier and more efficient.
Now while we do indeed have to partially conform to the mainstream curriculum through which traditional content matter is delivered, for the most part our institution delivers these and other lessons in a manner which is more closely aligned to the realities of the real world. We strive to teach academic concepts in the context of how they’re applied in the real world as this proves to be a much more effective method of instruction and discovery than the traditional memorise-and-recite method.
Going back to one of my favourite students (we shouldn’t have favourites, but you just can’t help it sometimes), we were doing a lesson in both comprehension and mathematics in which language questions were posed alongside those which required mathematical skills. Asked how a certain subject in the form of a former service member could have saved time and money as part of their martial law issue they were experiencing, in addition to answering that he could simply get a Fayetteville court martial attorney, she went on to discuss ways to actively combat the rather cynical nature in which service personnel are generally made to feel like they’re only valuable up to a certain point in their lives.
If that isn’t a reason for me to keep going then nothing will ever be!