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    The Goal is Graduation

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    As we instruct and nurture our students, planting little trees, it is sometimes hard to forget their goal is graduation. Earning a degree is the greatest goal for which students strive. Although students are, at times, overwhelmed with many distractions, most of  those that are successful have a goal in mind - graduation!
    As instructors our job is to offer knowledge in ways that are interesting and informative. Sometimes I feel like my students are so set on the grade that they forget to enjoy the opportunity to learn. Remembering their goal and helping them to reach it works best if I can help them stay focused on the goal of graduation; but also, realize that the learning is what's important.
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    Learning Isn't Like Taking Medicine

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    Sometimes my students act as if they think of learning as if it were a bad tasting potion that I was offering to them, as if my job was to create problems for them that they can't possibly overcome. Learning isn't like taking a bad tasting potion, but how to alleviate the mindset from my students is another matter. Studying is easy if you have a passion for the topic. So, how do we convince our students that our topics are interesting and beneficial?
    I have found that a lot of the medicinal attitude comes from what I call student drama. Drama is the most recognizable human characteristic in many of my students lives. Perhaps it is the over abundance of reality TV programs, that are anything but reality. Keeping drama at bay is a challenge for all of us at times, I struggle with it myself sometimes. However, from a realistic perspective education is best served to open, untethered minds. Sometimes I have to remind my students that the more they focus on how difficult meeting the requirements of the class are, the less time they have to focus on learning and enjoying the process. Of course I follow that up with a grade rubric or syllabus with requirements that match the level of education the students are working toward.
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    Fascination for Adventure

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    Perhaps the best thing we can teach our students is Fascination for Learning and an ability to teach themselves how  learning works best for them; and, ultimately, to love learning. The Dragon in this photo is either a danger or an adventure depending on the perspective of the people in the boat. And so it is with educational challenges.
    Many years ago when I was overwhelmed by some drama of my own and thought that I couldn't continue on my path a professor suggested I look at the challenges in my life as if they were little adventures.
    Since then, I have taken classes that were required for degree specifications that were difficult. I didn't do as well on the grade scale as I would have liked, because the subject was new to me or involved an area of study in which  I was not particularly knowledgeable. With a differing attitude, the experience was more fulfilling because what I was learning took me outside of my comfort zone and helped me to expand my interest level in the subject. It was an an adventure!