Last Friday, I was conducting a workshop on motivating students at a high school right here in DC. I spent a lot of time talking about how if we really want to prepare students for college, we have to do more than prepare them academically. We also have to make sure that they are ready culturally to exist in the world of college, which means that we have to equip them with the soft skills they need to be college students. As educators, we often overlook this and as a result, we send students to college with the proper course credits they need but without the currencies they really need to be successful.
Unbeknownst to me, there was a student in the room filming the workshop. During the break, the student approached me and said,
“What you said this morning really reached me.”
Surprised, I asked him what exactly had I said that resonated so much.
“That part about how teachers need to do more to prepare us for college. I am going to be the first person in my family to go to college and I am scared,” he admitted.
“What scares you?” I asked gently.
“I want so bad to go to college and make something of my life,” he explained. “I CAN’T fail and I am hungry to learn but I don’t have anyone to show me the ropes. I don’t know what college is like and I don’t have anyone to show me. What if I don’t fit in?”
My heart felt heavy. It’s not the first time I’ve heard this story from students. In fact, many of the students I meet who have dropped out of college say that they left not because the work was too hard, but because it was too much of a change from the culture they were used to. They didn’t feel that they fit in.
“I understand,” I assured him. “It can be scary going into a new culture.”
“Yeah, and a lot of the kids here think I am a nerd for wanting to go college. But if I have to be a nerd in order to do something better with my life, then I will just be nerd!”
I threw my head back and laughed. “You’re going to be alright,” I smiled. “Before I leave today, I will make sure that you get hooked up with one of your teachers who can help you develop the soft skills you need to fit in at college.”
And I did. But here’s my point. A lot of students who sincerely want to do well in school lose their motivation not because they don’t care, but because they don’t have the soft skills they need, they don’t feel that they fit in and lose hope. But, if we helped them develop the currencies they needed to really occupy their dreams, they would stay motivated.
It’s the beginning of the year and now is your best chance to set your students up to be motivated throughout the year. Start the year by helping them develop the soft skills they need to maintain their motivation throughout the year.
If you want to learn how to do this, I will be spending quite a bit of time showing you the exact steps you need to take to help your students learn the currencies you need to stay motivated throughout the year. At Motivate Your Students, Motivate Yourself I’ll show you how to help your students acquire the currencies they need so that they are not only excited to learn, they are ready and prepared to be successful.
There is still time to join us. Register here.