Inspiring Students to Work

“Work to Learn – The person who does the work is the ONLY one who learns.”

I can’t take any credit for creating this motto. That goes to Harry K. Wong. When I discovered this quote his the amazing book, The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher, I set to work right away at creating a poster to help inspire my students.
If a student whines about having to do work, I walk over to the poster, tap it, and read the motto aloud. I often tell my class that we do our work to get better and to improve ourselves. I also add that I don’t assign any work to them that I wouldn’t, or haven’t already, done.
School work isn’t merely a waste of time. I make sure to teach to a sense of purpose, to let my students know why we are doing the particular work that we do each and every day. I try to relate our classwork to the real world.
I like to use Tony Hawk as an example. He had to put a lot of work into his sport and craft. He learned how to do tricks that no one had ever attempted before. He learned all of that through hard work. He didn’t just watch his friends skate or copy their moves. He put in the work and it paid off. He is now the most recognized and accomplished skateboarder in the world. 
School work isn’t as exciting as skateboarding. Not by a long shot. But there are still all sorts of ways it can pay off. Learning as much as you can will help you in life. I guarantee it.
So go out there, put in the work, and learn something new. You’ll be surprised at how far it will take you.
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2 responses to “Inspiring Students to Work”

  1. Hi Chase .. that gives it to the students straight .. and to us too … putting in the work is essential and then keeping that momentum.

    Cheers Hilary

  2. Hi Hilary,

    It's kind of like "Practice makes perfect" but one that makes sense for school. I really like it and the students seem to get it as well.

    When I printed that poster, I also did it on a marbled paper. It looks great on my wall.

    Happy first day of summer!