Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Motivation and Inspiration

I've been teaching English privately for several years. I love the flexibility of creating my own material that caters to the needs of the students. I enjoy being my own boss. But most of all I love inspiring.

Since I've been back to Regina I've continued to do the same. I have students working on reading programs rewarding them with stickers when they complete certain tasks. For the teenage boys, I've created a homework money chart and assign a certain dollar value to each assignment based on level of difficulty. Ultimately, the main goal is to either fill up your sticker chart or collect $60 so that you get to choose a fun event to do together for one English class. These simple things work well with teens and children. I've been to Laser Quest, to the movies, shopping, out for ice cream, dinner, and made tie dye shirts.

With the adults, I have them write out S.M.A.R.T goals and ways for them to chart their English progress. Sticker and money charts just don't do the trick. It's hard for the adults to see progress in their English, especially if they are only studying for 2 hours a week (and speaking Korean the rest of the time). But I know that for most of my students, confidence is the main factor holding them back from speaking English outside of the comfortable confines of their home with me there to help. So for the adults I assign them practical things to do to push them out of their comfort level. I find interactive games for them to participate in online. I create worksheets that require them to call different places around the city and ask various questions. I have them over for dinner with my family so they can practice speaking in a different setting.

I teach students to break down their language learning into small achievable goals. I tell them it's much like building a puzzle. One small piece at a time. First you need your frame then slowly but surely the pieces fit together at different times. Sometimes the pieces don't connect which makes it difficult to understand their relation among the other pieces. Sometimes you think a piece fits but it doesn't. Sometimes you fit put two pieces together and then your cat jumps on the table and knocks it over and you need to learn how to do it again a different way.

Connecting with students individually is what makes me so successful at teaching one-on-one. I adore all of my private students. I especially like to encourage them. Most of the time I walk away for my lesson on a natural high. Like, life is too good!

It's a great feeling. Now if only these feelings of inspiration and motivation could be transferred into my own life.

I don't know what my issue is with that! I'm a good motivator, but I'm a procrastinator. I teach people to follow their dreams and believe in their ability, but don't do the same. I give life advice and listen when no one listens, but also need an ear to talk to.

Maybe I should have gone into counselling.

Or maybe I should just resign to the idea that I'm just not a good language learner. My procrastination, laziness, and overwhelming sense of 'oh my god, where do I start?' is not helping this matter.

So...... PLEASE send help, OR advice. Cuz I also love to listen to what you have to say!


ashattack said...

Join me in my Blog/Study challenge!
Keep working at your puzzle!

Hali said...

Have you looked into the European Language Portfolio? I'm going to try a version of it next year in my French classes. Kids are having a hard time seeing what they are actually accomplishing and learning and this is an excellent way to show them what they CAN do and motivate them to tackle more tasks and keep track of language learning strategies.