The Educator's PLN

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Facilitating learning is a complex task in and of itself. Add with it the managing of people and information of various ages, types, and abilities and you have some small idea of what teaching entails.

How do you stay motivated in this profession where there is such high responsibility and low control?

I'll be posting a piece on motivation in the field on the Educator's Royal Treatment next week to follow this discussion.

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For me the motivation ALWAYS comes from the kids. I can be having the crappiest day dealing with mandates, administration, other adults, paperwork, you-name-it, and then I have one fantastic moment with that 1st grader who found in the school library the perfect book to read or that 6th grader who can't wait to get home and show mom the blog post she wrote about her science experiment that day. Seeing the kids become excited about learning and wanting to share what they learn with others is the real motivator for me. It helps, too, to have this great PLN to inspire me to keep at it and also to make me want to succeed at my own work so I can contribute something of value to my PLN.
I completely agree! Students may cause problems, but they can melt your heart and make your day if you let them.

Deb Hanson said:
For me the motivation ALWAYS comes from the kids. I can be having the crappiest day dealing with mandates, administration, other adults, paperwork, you-name-it, and then I have one fantastic moment with that 1st grader who found in the school library the perfect book to read or that 6th grader who can't wait to get home and show mom the blog post she wrote about her science experiment that day. Seeing the kids become excited about learning and wanting to share what they learn with others is the real motivator for me. It helps, too, to have this great PLN to inspire me to keep at it and also to make me want to succeed at my own work so I can contribute something of value to my PLN.
Truth be told - the student's have always been great - but recently I have noticed that online teaching communities such as this one - where enthusiast teacher's gather and communicate is playing a large role!

Cheers PLN!
I stay motivated by always learning something new or rethinking something I had for granted. In my case, it is the key point to keep myself strong enough to face the troubles from our teaching routine. Of course, my students also motivate me because in fact, is in order to help them in a better and in a more effective way that I wake up everyday with the goal to improve my work. But I feel that most of the time, we - teachers - are so in trouble with stuffs - forms, mandates, meetings, mechanical procedures, obsolete points of view - that take us away from the main point that is teaching. I do think that some school administrators need to recycle themselves in order to not disturb the teachers' work with their obsolete ideas. So, my antidote to counteract the effects of the worse part of my routine is my wilfulness to learn something everyday and it can be reading a text, exchanging ideas with my PNL, reading a book, asking, reflecting.
I would like to add that having a place like this one, where we can meet teachers all around the world - exchange ideas, ask, share information - , is also a super form of motivation. So, this Ning and my twitter are also contributing enormously to my motivation.
I have to say too, that it is always about the kids...the smiles, the laughter, the "ah-has". I teach sixth grade reading and when a kid comes in excited about books that too is a great motivation. I have found at times that the external pressures have been getting worse, and the ability to stay motivated has become more difficult.
What great responses so far, thanks to everyone contributing!

Shawn Storm said:
I have to say too, that it is always about the kids...the smiles, the laughter, the "ah-has". I teach sixth grade reading and when a kid comes in excited about books that too is a great motivation. I have found at times that the external pressures have been getting worse, and the ability to stay motivated has become more difficult.
My students keep me motivated. High school juniors and seniors are so close to their venture into the world beyond HS that they keep me upbeat and ontask to make sure I'm helping equip them with skills they will need. It helps that they are so much fun to work with and we have a good time (dare I say, some days are a blast) while we learn.

My online PLN is another source of motiviation. These folks, that I only know in the digital world, keep me so excited about how to keep things moving forward in my classroom. My PLN, though I've only known them since June, has changed how I work. Sometimes I go to my PLN to share, sometimes to ask for help, sometimes to encourage ... I am happier with my job now because I have the group of "colleagues" that I've always wished for ... in the 1000s of Tweets I've read, I've never read a "these damn kids" tweet ... 500 educators and not one of them has complained about the kids.
What a great point, the positivity of the Twitter and Ning communities is refreshing. We all have bad days, but I have never seen serious kid-bashing going on. Having the group of colleagues you always wished for? That's a fantastic way to put it! I may have to quote you on that.

Casey Mayfield said:
My students keep me motivated. High school juniors and seniors are so close to their venture into the world beyond HS that they keep me upbeat and ontask to make sure I'm helping equip them with skills they will need. It helps that they are so much fun to work with and we have a good time (dare I say, some days are a blast) while we learn.

My online PLN is another source of motiviation. These folks, that I only know in the digital world, keep me so excited about how to keep things moving forward in my classroom. My PLN, though I've only known them since June, has changed how I work. Sometimes I go to my PLN to share, sometimes to ask for help, sometimes to encourage ... I am happier with my job now because I have the group of "colleagues" that I've always wished for ... in the 1000s of Tweets I've read, I've never read a "these damn kids" tweet ... 500 educators and not one of them has complained about the kids.
I agree! I keep in contact with many of my students and even the ones I worried about have been very successful and appreciative! The parents as well! I feel very blessed, Deb!
Associate with other positive, solution oriented professionals. Their synergy is a constant reminder of how important our mission is. Participating on committees, board wide initiates, attending conferences and creating online PLNs provides an avenue for meeting such individuals.
I couldn't do this job if it only took place outside of my classroom. It is when I close the door to the outside world and give all that I have to making a moment of "I get it!" happen in my students eyes that I know I will continue in this job. I teach middle school and working to help each one make it through with some sense of themselves is a major goal. When I can help them enjoy learning or see themselves in a positive light, it is all worth it. The specifics of what I teach are not important. The hearts and minds of my students are! So that feeds me and makes me face each day!

That and feeding myself with Twitter and this ning. When I am a learner as well as a teacher, I am more alive. I remember what it is like to not understand and to need to find the answer. So, as always, thank you to my PLN. It is fascinating to me how I can be learning so much from people that I follow on Twitter who do not even know me. What an amazing new world!

So glad to be part of the learning and sharing!
What amazing responses! Thank you to everyone who has shared so far! My post considering motivation is up on the ERT and my blog now for your scrutiny, commentary, and enjoyment. People are weighing in on the Missouri Edu PLN as well.

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