Archives for the month of: March, 2012

The joy of writing comes, for me, mainly from the pleasure of exploring my thoughts. As I write my ideas and opinions solidify and harden in to fully formed passionate beliefs. Sometimes, I am not aware how strongly I felt about things until I write them down and share them.

As I have been writing these posts a pattern in my thinking is emerging. In making this move away from my safe and familiar environment it has made me question the construction of my identity. It has not only been this move to Brazil that has allowed me to consider the building blocks of my personality but also the presentation of my self which I share on the internet. The mediums I now use, to connect and communicate with home, offer insights in to how I construct the truth of my identity.

Of course, we all present many selves, a subtle shifting of our representation depending on our audience. I wrote previously about the melding of together of mine. Some of you reading this know me by many names, some by only one. As I continue to feel less afraid to share, and less compartmentalised, I am more wiling to open up each separate drawer in my mind and let you see inside. I didn´t know, when I stepped in to this shiny new life in grubby grimy Sao Paulo, I would find a stronger identity and more than that, a sense of relief and acceptance of who I was. Perhaps it is getting older, as I edge to the farthest corner of my 30s my confidence in who I am grows. Is it the fresh start created by coming here to Brazil? By moving have I managed to shrug off some of the layers of negativity and confusion which draped over me in Brighton?

As you move away from something you become more connected to it. By leaving behind my beloved Brighton, the UK, my home. By discarding my possessions I was able to make a stronger simpler connection to the things, people that really mattered. More surprisingly a connection to new people, people I have never met.

Before I left I used social networking a bit, I was just starting to see it´s potential. Here, in my displaced state the internet has been my biggest support. It has been the way I am able to keep hold of who I am, where I am from and where I am now. It has placed me.

Who is online Luci? This presentation of myself which I share with old and new friends. I often don´t recognise the online perception compared to the frightened little girl huddled in her 19th floor apartment confused and homesick. Despite wanting to share a true representation online we can´t help but tidy up the edges or neaten the hemlines of our personality, turn up the colours, adjust the brightness. I am guilty of googling information to make myself look more knowledgeable or checking song lyrics before replying to people. I select the best photos to share, the most interesting aspects of my life. Why wouldn´t I? Who wants to hear about me drinking tea or brushing my teeth? Or see a photo of me watching TV or writing on the laptop?

I have become close to some of my new online friends, like my Brazilian friends they have no back-story, only the internet front they have been reading. We have got to know each other through writing 140 character posts. One of these friendships has extended past the confines of the internet, so much so he wrote my ´real name´ the other day without realising. I liked this, it showed I had become more than this selected self, he had penetrated the Luci below. I had become rounded out. Perhaps some of the sheen had gone from my shiny online persona but in its place was a real human being to connect with.

What does this mean for my classroom? For my students? For me it is the recognition of the million little pieces which make up the students in my class. To remember we present all these different selves but underneath, the truthful core is always there. Look beyond the behaviour, the possible puffed up presentations protecting those frightened forming identities. Read the message in the presentations of self we share, for they are more than likely masking fear, insecurity or pain. I need to encourage, support, nurture and empower my pupils to seek the truth of their identities, to connect and to be real.

I am essentially a lazy being. I am genetically designed for lying round eating and absorbing the dregs of popular culture. I am more than capable of spending hours in my own company doing very little. Somehow I have managed to get a life. I have a good job, which I love, I have friends who I also love and I have, moved to a new country, which I have also loved. So how do I motivate myself to do these things when my default setting would be lazy?

I have been considering my motivations, what are the things which push me to change, to work, to get out of bed? Sometimes I have been motived by a darker part of me; fear, shame, confusion, sadness. Does it matter what brings you here as long as you make the journey? I came to Brazil, left my settled life, motivated by a number of things, some of them came from a darker place inside me, some were positive. My life was stale,  I was travelling down a road I didn’t like,  my destination was not what I wanted for myself. I needed something different, a new challenge to wake up my tired brain, heart and soul.

I am sometimes motivated by anger, a desire to show the world what I was worth and what I was capable of. I have been motivated by sadness, frustration and loss. By the need to escape and leave those feelings as far behind me as I can.

I have been motivated by ego by wanting adoration, adulation and acclaim. I have been motivated by a genuine desire to do the right thing, to do good, to make a difference, to help to support others. Sometimes my motivation is selfless, sometimes not always.

There is another motivation, one that a single childless selfish being like me struggles with. That is the morivation just to do something just because it would make someone else happy. I generally do what ever pleases me but I am learning and trying to be motivated by a true and valuable desire to bring joy to someone else.

But I am selective and that is what I am concerned with. When I am motivated I can get things done. I can find reserves of energy, I can be reliable, smart and organised. How to motivate yourself for a task you don’t want to do? How to motivate others to be part of something they aren’t really interested in? How to motivate children to value their education, to forget the exciting world of a 15 year old and concentrate on the periodic table?

I have seen teachers become angry that their pupils aren’t motivated, that they are ungrateful for this great gift of education we share with them. Motivation isn’t a given, it can’t be imposed from outside; it comes from your heart and mind being connected together.

Some people are motivated by fear of others judgements, they seek approval. Maybe this will motivate our pupils to work too. What kind of result does this motivation bring? I don’t believe it is genuine, it’s lacks solidity. You have to believe.

I’ve been on many diets, motivated for a time to lose weight, to follow a plan. I remember one of the diet gurus saying ‘If you were offered a million pounds to lose 3 stone, you’d probably do it. So you have the capacity to lose the weight you just need to find the right motivation.’ My motives to lose weight were always about the judgement of the world so I never succeeded. I don’t diet now, I never did lose weight but I’m a hell of a lot happier!

So what are the key elements to be motivated? A truthful and genuine desire for change? One that comes from deep inside and is not imposed or surface? Something which is inside you and not designed to meet another’s unrealistic expectations?

The pupils I worked with in England, entrenched in their dysfunctional, fractured lives, were not motivated by fairy tales of ‘good GCSE results’ or a better job. The only thing that motivated these boys was the true and sincere pleasure of success. I was their cheerleader spurring them on; celebrating each unique achievement undeterred by government imposed arbitrary levels, grades or criteria.

So how do I find a way for my pupils to be motivated? We have to understand our core purpose and work for it. My change, my motivation, for moving away was confused and mixed up, but as the English fog in my mind has cleared and the sun shines on my new vibrant life, my motivation becomes clearer.

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