Scene: The classroom. J is having a hard time with his vocabulary exercise. I give him some hints, but he isn’t motivated to figure it out; it’s hard. He gets one answer right and I make a funny face: “HellOoo! Look at that! You’ve got it!”

J: (Uncontrollable laughter) Your face! Your face!

Me: (Lightbulb moment) Okay. You get one funny face for every word you get right.

J: (Busily works on vocab, hands it over) Here.

Me: (Scanning) You got one right. Here’s your funny face. (pulls face)

J: (Grabs vocabulary) Only one? (works busily, hands it back in record time)

Me: (Scans) WOOO! You got them all! Okay, that’s, um, let’s see. Seven funny faces. (Proceeds to look like a constipated gargoyle, a surprised emu, a Cabbage Patch Kid and a lot of other undignified things.

J: (Laughs uncontrollably, then works well for the rest of the class)

Sometimes you have to sacrifice your dignity to get things done. Thank goodness, I am not that attached to my dignity.

6 Comments to “Motivation.”

  1. By Beth, January 31, 2008 @ 9:16 pm

    I taught on an Odawa reserve my second year. Back in 1971, I had what was then called the “remedial” grade 3s. The first day, they giggled as I worked my way through the class list trying to pronounce their names – like Mijibinijima. One of my kids especially enjoyed watching me struggle. We had a deal. He got through his reading exercises, and he could teach me a word, any word he wanted. I learned a few words of Odawa and he moved out of “remedial” into the regular grade 4 class.

  2. By Liz, January 31, 2008 @ 9:50 pm

    Awesome story. Isn’t it cool when you can motivate the ones who don’t want to do it?

  3. By Arwen, February 1, 2008 @ 1:07 am

    What can I do to get a constipated emu face from you? Because I’ll do it.

  4. By Liz, February 1, 2008 @ 1:35 am

    Dude, you just have to ask.

  5. By sarah, February 1, 2008 @ 9:46 am

    One of my favourite things about you is that you don’t mistake dignity for integrity.

  6. By Liz, February 1, 2008 @ 11:40 am

    Sarah, integrity holds you up. Dignity holds you back.

    Hang on, when did I get all Zen?

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