Well, everything actually, if you're a TEFLer in a private language school where the concept of a weekend has yet to reach.
I remember feeling apprehensive about the prospect of working weekends during my first ELT gig back in 1993. The prospect of delivering seven hours' worth of lessons on a Saturday and a Sunday didn't exactly fill me with joy. As it turned out, things weren't that bad, except for the Sunday afternoon class at 3:30. I still occasionally wake up in a cold sweat about that one. Wednesdays became my de facto weekend, which was fine, apart from the fact that 1990s Turkey was full of party-loving TEFLers, meaning that a) Tuesday evenings were ESPECIALLY wild and b) Wednesdays tended to be a bit of a blur, at best. Once My Friday Feeling Mojo had been reset to Tuesday evenings, it was all pretty easy.
And the one thing that I never, ever experienced was the Monday Morning Dread. I never had that ghastly sensation of grey horror that is experienced as you know that you have to drag yourself into the office for another deadening round of the working week. I may not have always enjoyed being in the classroom, but by and large I've never had that 'oh God....' sensation. And any job that doesn't have you wishing the week away has got to be good.
|Me, when I worked in a call centre.|
But what about those in between? How do we influence their moods and motivation? Many educators would say 'get them copying the behaviour of the really motivated ones.' Well, yes, but that is very easy to say, but not necessarily to do. Every single student is exactly that, an individual, and what may work for one person may not work for another. We may not know all the circumstances outside the classroom that each learner lives in, and whatever happens out in the 'real' world will influence what happens within the class.
It's one of our responsibilities as teachers to be aware of possible external influences and either encourage or mitigate their effects, depending on how they affect the learners' motivation. In this respect, I think we have to lead by example: there are many times that I have had a godawful day, or week, or whatever, yet I pride myself on leaving that baggage outside the classroom and go in there as Mr Positive Vibes.
In other words, we model an example of professional behaviour that we expect the learners to emulate. This doesn't mean being manically jolly - that would soon get wearing, to put it mildly - but rather being enthusiastic, positive and realistic about the work being done in class. I believe that a lot of a learner's motivation does stem directly from the teacher's own passion for the subject.
Of course, there are other extrinsic and intrinsic factors in motivation, but I'll leave that for a different post.
Have a happy weekend - even if you are teaching the 3:30 Sunday slot.....