Finding Motivation in Unexpected Places
As a veteran teacher, I can unequivocally say that finding a peer group of like-minded teachers, for both inspiration and support, is vital for retaining ones emotional health and desire to go into the classroom day after day. Whether this group of teachers is found in your school, in face to face regional conferences or online does not matter. The fact that you are able to discuss new strategies, argue over their benefits, share the successes and get support for the disappointments is really what counts.
That being said, motivation can also be found in the most unlikely places. As unlikely as taking up a hobby totally unrelated to teaching English.
Take bird-watching, for example.
Hardly seems relevant to teaching English, does it? Sounds like something most students wouldn’t be interested in.
Let’s take a closer look.
First, there is the emotional factor. Spending time outdoors, in nature, away from the classroom, the computer (and housework!) can be both relaxing and invigorating. Seeing a flock of about 6000 Kites (birds of prey) circling overhead as they prepare for their nightly roost or discovering a long eared owl perched on a branch, so cleverly camouflaged that you would never have seen it on your own, can be awe inspiring. After such outings, a teacher may often find that her/his own “feathers” do not get easily ruffled in class when things don’t go exactly as planned. The enormity and complexity of nature can put things in perspective.
Secondly, nature and mankind are closely linked. There are geo-political issues (the fall of the Soviet Union and the Gulf War caused birds to change their migrating routes!) and there are cultural issues which can lead to very interesting discussions. Cranes are very significant birds to the Japanese. Owls are a blessing to farmers in some places (natural rodent killers) while looked upon in fear and dismay in other places. And those are just a few examples!
Basically, finding a hobby, any hobby, that “recharges your batteries” and expands your own horizons can help you remain a healthy and motivated teacher.
10 thoughts on “Staying healthy and motivated – Naomi Epstein”
Taking up a hobby! I can’t agree more. It refreshes the mind and as you say “recharges the batteries”. Trying bird-watching sounds nice, too. It can also help us discover new strategies for developing patience that we crucially need while teaching.
Thank you dear Naomi!
Well put, Merve! Any hobby can be so benificial for both the teacher and the students!
I certainly agree that patience is crucial for teachers!
Thank you for stopping by, Merve!
6000 kites? Oh. My. Gosh. That’s amazing!
I love birdwatching too, and sometimes just catching sight of a redtail floating on the breeze as I hurry (sometimes late and laden) to a lesson is enough to remind me to do a little floating myself. Even city dwellers can be birdwatchers! Just keep an eye open …
I quite agree Cathy!
So many people never look up! They are missing a lot!
Perhaps they need to park farther away from the front door of their workplace…
Thanks for stopping by!
OOPS, sorry for misspell – I meant Kathy, of course!