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Staying Motivated

While we have covered the difficulties of keeping up student motivation in previous posts (strategies for increasing student motivation , feedback for learner motivation, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, and keeping students motivated), another factor to consider at this point in the semester is how you as an instructor can keep yourself motivated. Only you can know what truly inspires or drives you, but here are some suggestions that might help remind you how to do your best work every day.

  • Ask someone to observe you. The Kaneb Center offers this service from a professional perspective, but you might also consider asking a colleague from your own department. A classroom observer may encourage you in the areas you have mastered or suggest strategies you may not have considered. In either case, the feedback can provide a boost of confidence and inspiration at a time of year where your classroom experience might become stale.
  • Set daily intentions for yourself. Take some time each night to sketch out the goals you have for the next day. It’s important to set a realistic number of goals, so that you have the satisfaction of finishing off your list instead of the frustration of facing a number of incomplete tasks. Successfully managing a to do list like this can be a great source of momentum and a good confidence builder. While you may have used a strategy like this in your research or personal life previously, it can also go a long way toward helping you feel motivated and in control as an instructor.
  • Once you have taught for a few semesters, you probably have some positive messages from students scattered throughout your inbox and maybe your course evaluations. Consider starting a file to collect these messages for future perusal. The words your students use to describe how well you do your work or how you have affected their lives are the perfect confidence booster to help you finish the semester strong.
  • Update your workspace. Sometimes something as simple as a little redecorating can lift your mood and improve your focus. Whether you have an office, carrel, or a desk, there are ways to make your workspace personal. Images of favorite people, places, and things can be just the external prompt your internal motivation needs!
  • Take care of your health, physical and mental. Recreation isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity for the life of the mind. Ensuring that your body and your mind receive the rest they need is crucial to avoiding burnout. It may seem that there is simply no time to see to these needs, but investing time in these important matters will help avoid numerous problems in the future.

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