We are about 9 weeks into the 2013-2014 school year. I have experienced a wide range of emotions this year. Most of the emotions are related to my adjustment as a new teacher. However, I am consistently flabbergasted by the lack of motivation that the students exude. This is a generalization. In no means, does this statement or observation apply to all of the students. There just seems to be a lack of motivation in a lot of the kids. Maybe the emotion is apathy...I don't know. They seem content to do the bare minimum, while expecting the maximum return. They are quick to tell me that I am "doing too much". When I gave them a quiz on medical abbreviations, more than half failed. Initially, I internalized it that I had failed them as a teacher. So, I went back and retaught the lesson. We did multiple examples together and they practiced independently. We did it so much, that they began to whine and complain that they knew this already and were tired of reviewing the 20 abbreviations. So, I gave them the opportunity to take the quiz again. I didn't change ANYTHING!!! Same quiz, same questions, same answers. The results were overwhelmingly the same!!!!!!! Some of the excuses I heard were "But Ms. Jones, I had other stuff to do.", "I wanted to study, but I had math homework last night". So, this time, I knew that it was them and not me.
Then came test time. I formulated a study guide from the test questions. I gave them the study guide about a week and a half before the test. They completed it independently first. Then I spent an entire class period reviewing them and answering all of the questions on the study guide with them. They had an opportunity to ask me any questions on the material....guess what?! "We don't have any questions". Can you guess what happened when test day came? I heard "What test, Ms. Jones?", "You didn't give us a study guide!" Did I mention that I used remind101.com to send text reminders to their precious little cell phones about the test?!?!? I am grading the test this weekend and I am flabbergasted again at the number of F's. I just don't get it. Where is the motivation to do well? Where is the motivation to have passing grades? Where is the motivation to learn? As a teacher, I feel like I can only do so much external motivation. How do you inspire intrinsic motivation in your students?
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