May-Hem and Motivation
As noted in my May 2 article, I fondly call this last full month of the school year “May-hem.” I don’t have to tell any of you that May is the busiest month of the year as each day brings a special reason to celebrate student achievement and success. When you throw in a little spring fever with all of the goings on, things can feel a little bit out of control. As we work our way through the organized chaos that is May and into the final days of the 2015-2016 school year, I suggest we go back to where we started last August and our focus on Dr. Bill Daggett’s work around high performing schools. Of particular importance in these waning days of the school year is MOTIVATION.
Hopefully you recall these key factors of student motivation:
• A sense of academic and social belonging
• Seeing school as relevant to the future
• A disposition to work hard and postpone immediate gratification
• An ability not to get derailed by academic or social difficulties
• A willingness to seek out challenges
• The desire to remain engaged for the long haul
I underlined three factors that seem to be particularly important this time of year as we seek to nurture academic tenacity and grit in our students.
As we seek to manage the mayhem and finish the year strong, it is a perfect time to revisit goal-setting on a personal level and with students. One of the main pillars of developing grittiness is the ability to set goals and manage behavior to reach them. I have found that the only way I can be productive during this month’s challenging schedule is to set specific, measureable, and doable goals for each day. I suggest that this strategy can also work with students. In the rush to get everything finished up, we might actually go faster by going slower. That is, the time we take at the start of the day to set individual and group goals is well spent. Chaos can be reined in with clarity, focus, and effort. We can finish strong and I know we will.
Take care. Be safe. Stay well.