Student Motivation: How we thrive through the school year


Jake Dinicola

HANDS UP!: HANDS DOWN! Mr. Miller’s class shows mixed participation and his students are mostly motivated to do so!

Jake Dinicola, Author

Motivation plays an important role in our lives. It provides confidence towards the person so he/she can work to overcome their personal obstacles. After 2 months of summer break, September hits students hard, with more assignments and new material. But there are many ways to bypass this kind of work life. Let’s see how WMS students define their motivation and how their teachers can help too. 

8th Grader, Esoola Akomolafe, said what motivated her in school, “Honestly, what motivates me in school is my friends. My friends just being around me and saying that ‘Oh yeah I decided I was going to do that after school’ or just being on a call with them and saying that I’m doing nothing. I guess what motivates me [is] just being unproductive and seeing other people being productive. I think that I should also be productive and should also be doing something that benefits school. Benefits whatever I’m doing.” Experiencing and following good role models is a great way to motivate yourself to be your own best. 

Akomolafe replied that before this motivation, she endured stress because she had many missing assignments to complete and new assignments also piled on the list. Now she’s more efficient, controlled and monitored into completing her work and doing it on time.

8th Grader, Gianna Giron-Gonzalez, conveyed what her motivation is here at WMS, “Well, it would be my family’s standard. Because my brother”–”I have an older brother that passed through here and he’s very smart and he’s way ahead. But other than that I really want to succeed.” 

Gonzalez also talked about the opportunities given because of this motivation as she became a good student from it. She reported that she is even more respected by her own teachers. 

8th Grader, Joshua Ortega, stated his motivation as, Getting good grades, and I just want to pass school.” Ortega says this motivation is beneficial for his future as it can get him into college for a good education. 

Motivation can work toward your goals and dreams as it’s known for helping others by putting in the hard work.“I really just want to make my friends proud. And next year in high school I’m looking forward to trying out for cheerleading. And I’m looking for good grades and just being good in school. [That’s what motivates me],” said 8th Grader and cheerleading dreamer, Mya Acosta. 

Acosta also said that achieving good grades in school makes her proud of herself and her parents proud too. 

Lastly, 8th Grader, Zadin Wallace said,  “Probably my friends and my family at home. [They] just [kind of] always keep me up to do stuff that I normally do in my life.” Wallace stated that this motivation is indescribable on how it benefits him but it does manage to teach him something.

 Despite motivation bringing spirits up, procrastination and video games bring grades down. Let’s see what these students think about that. 

“Well, normally people [use] video games as an escape from all the stress [that] does come from school. [Because I’ll say] that school can get really stressful so sometimes [people] procrastinate doing the stuff from school because [school] puts them back in that stressed mindset,” said Wallace.

Gonzalez also reasoned about the down/upside of procrastination, “School can be very stressful. I guess that everything when you have to put effort into it can be stressful. But when you learn to just do it, just get it over with, it’s good for your grades and just your mental health and just getting stuff over it.” Procrastination is just distracting us from doing our responsibilities but eventually we do it someway.

Acosta opined, “I feel like a lot of people like video games and I’m pretty sure kids think that studying is boring and they don’t really [get into studying]. They rather play video games instead of [enabling themselves to do their] school work.”

Ortega thought about why others play video games or procrastinate “I think they get bored and they aren’t really [focused] on the future.” 

In studies, people are more likely to do things if they’re able to understand the instructions or what to do. Let’s see how important it is to our students at WMS. 

Gonzalez talked about how important this method is to her. “So I think that’s great because like I said, my teachers are very respectful to us. So when we have our mind set on [doing something] we have to get good grades and stuff like that. It’s a good mindset because it makes you want to study, it makes you want to do your best so you get the best grade and get the best outcome.” 

Akomolafe explained why understanding something is the key to doing it “Oh it’s really important because when I don’t understand what I’m doing for [whatever] reason I just [get] off track. And I feel like when I understand what I’m doing and why I’m doing it [and what this could do], [It] helps a lot because now I understand my goal and what I’m reaching for.”

Ortega mentioned his importance on using this method and said “When I realize something I’m like ‘Oh’ If I piece the puzzle together for the work I can do it well and I can get better. And keep going.” If others realize what to do during tasks, they’ll understand the instructions and do greatly on it. 

Not only do students motivate themselves, their teachers are another big supporter of their motivation. Let’s see how these teachers motivate their students. 

Mrs. Early, World/American History/Government teacher talked about what she does to motivate her class “I [trended] this use of ways to motivate students because I think all students are motivated by different things. Some students are motivated by grades, and some students need a little more incentive. So you’ll see sometimes [I’ll offer] rewards. We have snacks, chips, candy, etc. from time to time to offer a little incentive for [students] who need a little bit more motivation.” Use of a reward can guarantee motivation as others can work towards it. 

Early also said her class had more students participating in games like “Blooket” and “Kahoot” because of the idea of physical rewards instead of the usual good grades.

Mr. Murphy, ELA Teacher/ Boy’s Volleyball/Volleyball Club Coach stated what he did to motivate students in the past “[So], [A couple of years ago] I had a thing that was called “Murphbucks” and if students performed exceptional work or asked a question that led to a classwide debate. Or if kids just do something stupendous they can earn Murphbucks. Then they can turn those Murphbucks in for real prizes like gift cards or lunch or homework passes. And that used really well.” 

Murphy also replied that he thought most students are “internally motivated” meaning they want to do well because it’s just right for them. Unfortunately Murphy doesn’t have a succesful way to motivate his students and he thought of bringing back “Murphbucks”. He also asks if anyone has any ideas for him to motivate his class, see him in room 205 at WMS. 

Finally, Mrs. Liastro, History Teacher/Cheerleading Head Coach explained her way of motivating her class, “I try to make my class fun. I think that sometimes students are motivated when it’s something that’s exciting and interests them. And usually history gets a bad reputation for being a boring subject. So I try to make class fun and interactive and hands-on whenever I can.” Putting others in a comfy, fun and engaging environment can make others motivated as it inspires them to do well. 

Liastro sees her students asking a lot of questions and receives better responses from them. She sees her students engaged in what she’s teaching and they stay around to hear it. 

In our attempts to motivate ourselves as students, we’ve benefited our own health and school production. Let’s keep on trying or fetch another goal or dream. Let us thank those who’ve helped paved our ways and continue our lives with confidence in what we pursue. Stay motivated WMS! Stay motivated!