Monday, October 1, 2012

Motivation, Flow, Autonomy, Curiosity...Where did they go?

I can't believe how my daughter WAS motivated to do her best at school at the beginning of this year. After she was accepted by the school she goes to her school life was supposed to be enjoyable with lots of new experiences and learning opportunities. As she got the school uniforms and other necessities, she was excited and looked proud what she had achieved. She was fully motivated.

After the first semester,  I need someone to tell me what the hell has happened on the little girl with determination to do the best she could? The explanation might be,"She is 13." She doesn't want to study at all. She enjoys her club activity but she has no day off from it and she gets exhausted and no energy to do anything else.

While her mum is reading Dörnyei in the kitchen table, her daughter is lying on the floor of her room and staring at the book of vocabulary she is supposed to memorize blankly. She mumbles, "It doesn't make any sense...I hate this. I hate studying."

I still remember the excitement when we went to the school for its festival this time last year. It is located at the edge of Tokyo in a beautiful nature. The air is still relatively clean. The birds are singing. The trees are welcoming. Students are lively and friendly. We thought "This is it!" We took a tour through the school guided by a teacher. After that, the teacher gave us a lecture about school policy and what students are expected to do. Then, I asked her, "What do you think about this school?"
She smiled and nodded.

What has happened? What did I do? What went wrong?  Where did she go? The little girl with twinkles in her eyes, dreaming what she can be, who she can meet and what are waiting for her.

Unfortunately, the reality bites. Tests, homework, club activity with no day offs. The exhausted girl has no energy to be the lively and friendly student we met last year at the school festival.

And I am still here at the kitchen table with the depressing thought - Let her decide.
All I can do is to provide what she needs - cloths to wear, a room to sleep, food to eat and books to read. The last one is the only at the moment I can feel proud of. The joy of reading is something I cultivated in her in her childhood. I read a book every single night till she said, "Mum, I can read a book on my own."
Motherhood is not a walk in the park. Singing, dancing, playing around with lots of laughters stage was over and forgotten. I remember what she said to me every morning as I took her to the nursery school, "I wish I could be with you all day long." with tears in her eyes. And I remember one of the teachers took her hand and told me to go as she started crying and screaming at my back, "Let me go home! Mum! I want to be with you, Mum!!!Don't leave me. " I also cried all the way home.

Now, I wish I could go back and take you home...

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