Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Goals and Motivation

I started playing tennis a few years ago. It came about as a perfect storm of influences came together at the same time: my wife was playing, we wanted something to do together, and my futsal club fizzled. (I really wanted to continue playing futsal.)

So I started taking tennis lessons on Saturdays. I did this for a while and I saw mild improvement in my game.

I switched tennis schools last fall and happened to be put into a class where I was the only student. This allowed for not only personalized instruction, but I also got to play against the coach.

Side note: For some reason three of three tennis schools I have been to do not have beginners play games. A topic for another blog post is how playing games shows the students why the coaches have the students play a certain way. Without playing the game, the drills and instruction have no meaning. Once you play a game, you can see why the coaches have you do certain things.

Playing against him was a lot of fun and helped me see [the many] flaws in my game. Which in turn got me thinking how I wanted to get better, so naturally I decided that I needed to play for more than one hour a week.

Knowing that I liked actually playing tennis matches, but not know what else to do, one day I told my coach I was interested in joining some tournaments in the region and asked him if he knew of any I could join.

From that day, even though I know I am not very good and entering a tournament would be futile, I have become much better.


One reason is that I went from playing one hour a week to playing 6-8 hours a week. Anyone who  did that would get better.

I think though it is because I set a goal for myself. I told that goal to someone who is watching me and who can help me achieve that goal which in turn increased my motivation.

I am not a goal setter myself, but maybe when I do set a goal for myself I am doing it wrong.

I have been thinking about goals, motivation, and tennis this through the summer and I have been trying to wrap my head around increasing motivation for my students. First and second graders love to learn, but I want to know how I can get a student who shies away from reading to like reading - or writing. How can I get my students to care more?

20% time is something I have wanted to start in my own classroom. Last year I thought about it, but I don't know what it would look like so I didn't implement it. Yesterday I was mapping out my weekly schedule and looking at my units for the year, and I calculated 20% of the week and was getting ready for the new school year.

This morning as I was starting to write this I came across a post on Google Plus by +Vicki Davis about a MOOC about 20% time. It started last week, and I don't like joining late, but I joined.

Now I need to motivate myself through this heat and humidity.

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