As I am exposed to a greater variety of workplaces, some of which are not from the charity sector, the majority of people seem to lack intrinsic motivation. There seems to be a general feeling that work is to be endured not enjoyed.
People tell me it is because of a lack of monetary compensation for work. Even in better paid jobs though, most people seem to lack drive. They ‘live for the weekend’ or they do the bare minimum, bored with scrolling through their e-mail avoiding the temptation to invest in schemes or activities which may benefit them and their company.
I am aware that while people are motivated by money, I don’t think that is the main driver. It seems to me as though very few people really enjoy what they do; people in previous roles have gained energy from their students and enjoyed the human contact in addition to being rewarding from the very tangible results of people applying the language they are taught to their real lives outside of class. In many working roles though, it is simply accepted that you get through your day and then you breath relief as you walk away, whether that is each evening or into your retirement. People change jobs more readily now; the grass is always greener and yet it seems to me as though people are confused about the exact colour that defines green.
As I get older, I find separating work from pleasure easier. I suspect it is more that I have learnt that in order to give 100% at work, I need to recharge outside. In Myanmar, this distinction is rare. Our trainees live with their students. Van and I live with the trainees who live with the students. Students come to class and come to the tea shop. Private space is unknown. I think perhaps that is why there is a lack of self-study and motivation. It links into the robotic pressure and lack of self-study as people are never alone and are always under the watchful eye of others. Motivation and self-study are concepts which have arrived on the grape vine. Like doing well and being clever, self-study has no tangible meaning to it.
NEH Director of Studies and Teacher Trainer
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