It's a party...

As a teacher, you occasionally have to pull a "magic trick" to get your students excited about school. As you know, I have been experiencing some serious lows in the "feeling like I am making a difference" arena, but today, as promised, I moved forward.

I entered the classroom with spring in my step, pronouncing that this was a day to move forward. "You can't go back and change the mistakes of your past, you can only make better mistakes in your future." Wanting to find a way to reward my students for their excellent work (that I am SURE they are going to exhibit), I told them that they would get to earn "Party Buxx." They seemed intrigued (and frankly so was I since I was making it up as I went along). "What are Party Buxx?" They asked...(yes, do tell).."Well," I said, "It is a way for you to buy parties." "Cool!" As I turned around I thought, "Well, now I need to figure this out since they seemed interested."

Motivating students is part of my job and sometimes it's the extrinsic motivation that works best. Eighth graders are really like elementary students in bigger bodies, they love to earn prizes. Really, don't we all?

I am now working on a new system that involves the newly formed Party Buxx (spelled with two x's for extra SWAG!!). I am actually pretty excited!

Motivation is essential for everyone including both me and my students. Maybe I can earn the Party Buxx too...What will it take to motivate me? Seeing student success! More than anything I want to turn this ship around and get kids on board.

Life is about not only making accomplishments, but also getting acknowledgements for the good, hard work that we do. Think about the small words of encouragement we may be given that really can go miles toward motivation. If everyone truly understood the minimal amount of encouragement it takes for workers to improve their work behavior, wouldn't they all take the time to encourage?

Everyone needs acknowledgement, whether they are someone who's job is at the "top" or the "bottom." Everyone needs to know that you appreciate the work that they do, because, frankly, we all rely on each other to make things function. I remember when I was in school to get my teaching degree, someone once told me that I wanted to make sure to know the head secretary and the custodian because those two people ran the school and could make your life miserable or awesome. I know of people who treat those two as "below them" and, I have to tell you, life is not pretty. I love both at my school! They are great people. As a matter of fact, my custodian fed my Betta fish all summer long because I had asked him once if he could feed my fish. I have never forgotten that and never cease to remind him how appreciative I am of the work he does.

Regardless of our job, we need to remember that we are never too good to acknowledge and reward good work. As a teacher, I want to let students know that I appreciate the work that they do, the positive behavior they exhibit, the improvements they make. I acknowledge my short comings when necessary in order to remind myself, and them, that I am not above mistakes nor do I think that I am "above" them.

We all need to earn some Party Buxx in our lives...the question is, how would you spend yours?


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