I hope so. I really do. I want to learn for the sake of learning. I find learning, no matter what the topic, enjoyable. I’ve really come to love university in the last few weeks for this reason. I’ve tried to let go of my innate need to impress others, and I’ve let myself enjoy learning for the sake of learning, becoming a better teacher, and developing into a more well-rounded individual.
Or so I thought. Today, I sat in class, and while it was interesting for the most part, I watched my watch like it was going to do a trick or something. It seemed like every five minutes, I was ready for class to be over. I wasn’t engaged, when I know I could have been and I know I should have been. I wasn’t preoccupied with anything either–it’s not like I had a big exam coming up or some big piece of news in my life. I just wasn’t all there.
Normally, I would let one day go, and chalk it up to needing sleep, but I can’t. Why? As soon as I got home, I checked my email from one of my courses. We handed in a reflection last week, and I was expecting an email back with my prof’s assessment and evaluation. I must commend this prof, because he takes the time to read through our reflections, ask questions, make comments, give further advice, and give us feedback on each thing we do. He writes back at least half as much as we write to him, which is phenomenal. I so very much appreciate all his efforts, and his comments are so thought provoking. However, what did I do as soon as I opened the attachment? I scrolled all the way to the bottom of the document, past all the comments, and checked my grade. As I was waiting for my assignment to download, I thought to myself, “Read the comments. The grade isn’t the important thing.” Did I listen? No.
Right now, I’m at a loss. I know that I am capable of being motivated my learning. I know that I can do it. I feel fantastic when I do it. So, why can’t I do it all the time? I want my students to feel that same empowerment that I do. How can I set up an environment for my students where grades “don’t matter.”
This leaves me with more questions than ever. If I were to give a student a grade in a course, what does it mean? I have a lot of classes that I got 90s in, and I can’t for the life of me remember half of the material. I’m thinking about grading. I’m sure another post about what each grade “means” is in the works. I’m just letting this all steep in my head for a while.
In the mean time, I’m going to go and be motivated by doing my math homework.