As I sit drinking my coffee with my back to the sun, I can feel it warming the back of my neck. Warming it almost to the point that I’m forced to rethink my decision to forgo the sunscreen (rookie error), and the cool breeze billows through my hair, talking to me, soothing me, almost as though its enticing me into a better mood. The day has a very summery feel to it, a promise of freedom, happy adventures and a slower, easy life. It has a feel that I can’t quite put my finger on, a typical summer’s day feel. An element of je ne sais quoi. And yet I can’t seem to bring myself out of the dull, drab, murky cloud that has been looming over me since I woke up this morning.
I want to be out enjoying the weather at the beach or at the park. I’m instead confronting the piles of uni work that I’ve conveniently stashed aside in the too-hard basket for the last few
I do have to admit; it’s not all bad. I am loading up on coffee care of my favourite café, something of what the business types like to call “a working lunch”. So yes, it could be worse.
My most important and pressing pile of papers sees me reading about the importance for teachers to engage students. Of the need to provide students with a sense of motivation, a major factor when achieving the desired learning outcomes. My text talks of the differences between intrinsic and extrinsic motivating factors and the influence of the children’s social surrounds that signal the perception towards self-efficacy. Self-efficacy being the notion that one can only learn and do that to which they believe they can. In simple, having a positive attitude and an “I think I can” approach.
Now, I can’t help but notice the irony at play here.
Because you see, on a beautiful, summery mid-week day I find myself motivated and committed to my studies. I should congratulate myself on that. I really should. I’ve at least got the motivation part down. If I can be so bold as to apply to references made in my text, I’m well on the way to improving and achieving my desired learning outcomes. But there’s a crucial flaw here that could in turn prove to be debilitating if left unresolved. The major factor being that the primary motivation to knuckle down and study is purely of extrinsic ideals – the fear of punishment (or in my case, failure to complete my degree). This fear seems to be the only thing keeping me from tossing the books aside and letting loose at the beach.
But I also know that the combination of being overly tired (and therefore just a tad grumpy) and kind of feeling the overwhelming need to have a good cry, is going to take on and challenge this so-called extrinsic motivation. And yep, newsflash, I think it might just be in with a good chance of winning.
So yes, whilst I believe that I CAN do this. I can sit down and focus and open up my mind to new ideas and engage in reflective thought. This is of course because I understand and know the importance of equipping myself with the appropriate learning tools necessary to keep up-to-date with my studies. I also believe that I CAN crack this bad mood with a little self-prescribed RNR. And naturally, that involves a some much-needed beach-activity.
Therefore, taking all of this into account, I also know that some days,
“it just ain’t gonna happen!”
Which, to be perfectly honest, I actually think is a valuable lesson to learn as a teacher. Some days the classroom dynamic is simply not going to work. Don’t fight it. Work with it. Use it to your advantage. Make the most of it. Help the kids to get the most out of a situation that’s just a little touch and go.
Now where’s that beach towel…catch you later uni, I shan’t be missing you.