Dear Fellow English Teachers,


Twenty sets of eyes, lifeless and dull, sit staring at me. Waiting, again, for their daily “entertainment.”  What, oh what, can I do to bring a spark back to those glazed eyes?  I have tried it all: games, walk-abouts, cooperative learning, collaboration, self-selected inquiry projects, lectures expounding all the reasons literature benefits them, lessons connecting literature to the “real world”  …..  The list goes on and on.  Nothing seems to change.  Nothing seems to turn their heads. Why can’t I get them interested?  Why can’t I get them motivated?


I think we have all experienced this situation at some point in our teaching career.  We have so much passion for our subject and we want to pass that passion on to our students, but face it, most 14-18 year olds just do not want to read a “boring” book when they have so much interactive technology from which to choose on a daily basis.  They do not see a need for literature or good writing skills in their far away futures (or even in their immediate ones).  They do not have the motivation to make these skills an important part of their educational portfolio.  So what can we do to change that?


This question is the focus of the 2015 Fall Conference: Motivating the Motivators. Our panel of speakers – Jennifer Crass, Julie Stausing, Bob Clubbs, and Dan Hecht – will spend the morning motivating us so we can motivate our students. With all of the daily demands and stresses put upon teachers, it is easy to get bogged down and lose sight of our goals.  We invite you to come for a day of re-energizing and revitalization.  We encourage you to network with your professional peers and gather fresh ideas to take back to your classroom. 


As I prepared for this school year, I again wondered how I can keep my students motivated.  What can I do that will make a difference?  How can I help them achieve intrinsic motivation instead of the fatal lure of false, temporary satisfaction?  Just as importantly, I wondered how I would stay motivated.  Face it, the kids know who is “faking it” and who is genuine.  We have to keep ourselves emotionally healthy in order to get the best out of our students.  I think this conference is a good place to start.


I hope each of you can join us on November 6, for a day of fun and relaxation.  Get ready to get motivated! Your students will thank you.


 Cynthia Buerck

2015-16 SMETA President