Leigh had the exasperated voice that I know so well: a caring mom who had tried for many years to inspire her son to work harder.
Andrew, a student at Daniel Hand High School in Madison, CT, had never been particularly motivated but the pandemic brought his academic energy to a new low.
Getting him to attend our fall SAT class began as a battle but since his friend – who knew his brother liked our class a few years ago – was attending, the battle ended quickly.
In our SAT class, I teach my motivational philosophies as part of the class. I suppose it is the distinguishing feature of the class as those who leave get test prep training plus motivational shifting. Andrew shuffled into class, much like many students in the past. Disinterested, looking at his phone, and wondering how long he would have to be there.
Before class started, I engaged in some friendly rapport building. He seemed surprised and his energy perked up.
In one of my discussions on why training for the SAT served the student’s interest, I focus on the freedom of shaping one’s future. I present the college search as a myriad of options. Much like a shopping trip, students will dislike, like, and, with hope, love some options. They will want whatever those options are and the SAT or ACT will be one of the ways that will help ensure that they get what they want. Andrew’s initial disinterested face perked up. Leigh called the next day and, as is often the case, asked what kind of magic was happening in class. “He’s actually asking about the college process!”
We are now engaged – happily – in the college counseling portion of our work. Is he super motivated? Not exactly but he’s doing what’s necessary to move forward towards his next major life transformation.