My background (education and career) is in psychology so I am naturally drawn to the motivational aspect of education. Engagement struggles are probably the only thing I can relate to when talking to other students in the program. I zone out when I read or hear them complaining about their own students, grading, administration, deadlines. I used to think I disengage because I can’t relate to their experience since I never worked as a teacher. Until I realized that I disengage because I do not want to an instructor. My engagement in the program has dropped to a dangerous bare minimum. I still want to graduate though. But how am I going to finish the remaining year? How much am I going to learn if my motivation is as low as it can possibly be? What can I rely on to stay afloat, if my internal resources are rapidly depleting?
The most useful thing I learned in this course is the importance of other people when it comes to engagement.
The team project was crucial, I felt like working together on a common goal made it more meaningful and increased my motivation as a result. It was also interesting to get to know each team member a little better. Everyone had their own unique strengths and talents, but what they all had in common is the ability to forgive me for being the weakest link, treat me fairly and engage me as their equal. I had to push myself harder to prove that I was worthy of being treated that way.
Irwin’s engagement was extremely important. It was the first time that I felt an instructor went beyond the responsibilities of their job. When someone actually cares to take the time and take a deeper look at what you are struggling with, it almost feels like a miracle.
I guess the lesson here is to seek out external resources when the internal ones are lacking. To not be afraid to ask for help. And to trust that it will come. To let go of the guilty feeling of being a burden.
This is my takeaway about engagement:
If I am struggling to engage, I need to help others help me. I might have little to no motivation of my own, but I need to reach out and be open to being filled with motivation by interacting with others.