I am Rocky, Hear me Roar…

I love the shuffle option on my Ipod. Somehow, it decided that the theme to Rocky followed by I am Woman Hear me Roar would be a good combo. Yes, I know this is hokey. There are some days we need something to motivate us.

Watch how Rocky begins his morning jog. His Italian-American hair flowing in the wind. His snug gray sweat suit keeping him warm. Notice how his sweatshirt stays tucked into his pants, amazing, simply amazing. People calling his name as he passes his neighborhood. Suddenly, the entire city is following him and cheering him on as he approaches the steps. Children have left school and it seems that everyone left their houses and jobs to follow him. I also believe time stopped. What about the steps? Can he do it? YES!!!  Rocky does it!

Rocky is one of my favorite movies.  One of the reasons I love it is because Sylvester Stallone wrote the script. He then insisted on starring in the movie. This underdog of a movie and screen writer became a small part our  cinematic history. What motivated him in 1976 to do this? (Note, I am referring to the first Rocky movie, only). Was there a teacher who encouraged him along the way? Hmmm…..

Teachers hold the key to motivating students to take that extra step (pun intended). When I am teaching something difficult and it seems like I am getting NOWHERE, and the tile floor is sucking me in; I go to my mental Rocky clip. That ONE child needs all of us cheering her on. She leads the way as we follow behind calling her name!

Ok-So another Italian-American reference. TEACH:TONY DANZA. I was sucked into this show. My favorite episode is where he makes all the kids sanitize their hands. He even promises extra credit if they keep their sanitizer bottles by the end of the semester. Now, this is motivation! He cries quite a bit and makes me feel validated  for a few minutes. He teaches some things incorrectly. He doesn’t follow the rules because they don’t make sense. He was called to the front office because he didn’t sign in correctly.  There were many times, I turned my head and cringed a bit. However, I kept watching because he kept showing up. He continually self-reflected  and sought out help.

Today, I was motivated all day. I was motivated to sing in the car with my kids. I was motivated to clean out my closet and donate purses and shoes. I was even motivated to sit at my computer and write this blog. I began thinking and wondering what is the spirit of motivation? More specifically, what does that mean in education?

When I wrote my thesis, I attempted to quantify student motivation. I was told that motivation could not be measured in numbers. I did it anyway. The work was accepted and noticed. We all know when kids are motivated in our classrooms. They work independently. They ask for guidance not answers. They evaluate their work and feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. Rocky? YES!!!

I often think of that one teacher who motivated me. I had to write a response to a story we read about the Vikings. I decided to write it from the Vikings’ perspective. How they were tired, hungry, and rank. That teacher asked me to “read the essay to the class”. She encouraged me to refine my writing because I had “something”. She noticed me. SHE NOTICED ME! From that day forward, I wrote and shared on a regular basis. The high-school invisibility cloak was removed.

Last night, I spent a wonderful evening with dear friends. We rang in the New Year and talked to all hours of the morning. I was encouraged to made lasagna! I  learned that too much flour in white sauce is bad.

The White Tree is packed away and has begun  the annual holiday decor hibernation.   The remnants of the festivities are packed neatly in boxes. The crazy fiber optic tree is gone from our window.

I am ready for this year. I’m motivated to run my steps.

Happy New Year.


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