Teaching in a Secondary School

By Robert Griffin | Go to book overview

14
Motivation

More and more as time goes on, I feel like getting out of the game of motivating students. It is hitting me that I have about had it with the whole business. I just want to let go of the responsibility, give it up, get it off my back. I find myself getting tired after all these years of feeling that I have to take responsibility for whether some student wants to get anything done. It wears me down to be in situations where someone can say in effect, "I don't care about doing anything in this class and it is your fault" and having people agree with him, you're right, Griffin's your problem. And at least until recently -- and, truth be told, even some now -- having me agree with him. I must admit I am a bit envious of students at times. I find myself thinking it would ease some of the pressure in my life if I could pin my lack of commitment and inaction on somebody else. In fact, there are times when that somebody else I want to pin it on is the unmotivated student himself. I imagine myself self-righteously announcing to this slumping, smirking, wise guy: "Oh, so you don't feel like learning and it's because of me, huh? Well, that makes two of us, because right now I don't feel like teaching and it's because of you." But I wouldn't do something like that. It probably wouldn't improve the situation and it would be just venting emotion on my part. And anyway, I am trying to rise above any tendencies I have to take on an "if it weren't for you I'd be a movie star" posture in my life. Certainly I don't want to model that kind of attitude for students to imitate, and besides, as I was saying, there's that part of me that thinks the student is right: I am a loser as a teacher.

If you think about it, teaching is the epitome of the indirect action. That is, much of teaching isn't doing something yourself. Rather, it is getting

-138-

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Teaching in a Secondary School
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Teaching as Work 5
  • 2 - The Self-Surpassing Classroom 11
  • Conclusion 19
  • 3 - Our Values Matter 21
  • 4 - A Focus on Studenting 27
  • 5 - Getting Students to Think for Themselves 31
  • SUMMING UP 40
  • 6 - What is a Good Student Like? 41
  • Conclusion 48
  • 7 - The Importance of Language 50
  • 8 - What Can a Good Student Do? 65
  • Conclusion 71
  • 9 - Teaching Values: The Early Years 72
  • Conclusion 78
  • 10 - What Can Get in the Way of Being a Good Student? 80
  • 11 - Curriculum 88
  • 12 - Becoming a Good Student in School 114
  • 13 - Discussions, Lectures, and Textbooks 124
  • 14 - Motivation 138
  • 15 - Style Counts 149
  • 16 - Advice to a Student on Achieving in School 156
  • 17 - Teaching Values: The Later Years 162
  • 18 - Thoughts on Discipline 181
  • 19 - Helping Students Become More Effective in School 191
  • 20 - Evaluation 200
  • 21 - Planning 211
  • 22 - Teaching and You 229
  • Acknowledgments 239
  • Endnotes 240
  • Index 247
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