Although I have been a teacher for, essentially, my entire life, I have only considered myself an academic researcher relatively recently. Specifically, for the past 4-ish years, I have been researching students who are trying to earn their GEDs. While I was working on my Ed.D. at Baylor University, I was teaching mathematics and language arts GED-preparation courses at the same time. I was able to tailor every class project to help me in my goal of understanding what holds GED-seeking students back from earning their GEDs.
I’m sharing this because I speak with students every day who tell me why they need to keep taking preparation courses, for example. However, their reasons are based on assumptions, which are often incorrect.
As you may or may not know, there is a lot of shame and secrecy around someone not having graduated from high school, unfortunately. As a researcher, that makes it a little tricky to find answers to my many questions.
For one class project I turned to the hashtags of Instagram hoping to gain a little insight. However, no one is ever going to post #stillhaventearnedmyGED.
I did check, of course, because I’m a nerd like that.
Instead, I searched for the celebratory posts:
I first congratulated then messaged 30 IGers to ask if they’d be willing to share what helped them complete all four sections.
I was fortunate enough to start many conversations from many kind people willing to chat with me for a while.
Tied for first: “I wanted to make ______________ proud.” The most common answers were “my mom,” “my grandma,” and “my kids.”
There’s something especially interesting about this being one of the most common responses reported by students after they have crossed the finish line. They reflected on their success and reported that they did it for someone else.
Remember, I am trying to help those students who seem to be unable to move forward with the tests. In contrast to the success stories I tracked down on Instagram, I have found that many students create a cycle of taking preparation classes. They never take any official section of the test. Those students rarely go on to take the test because they lose their motivation when their primary goal is to earn it to make someone else proud. On the other hand, after some coaching and once they realize and discover their internal motivation, they can often overcome the slump of taking repeated classes.
So, what is the point of this post?
If you’ve read this far, I’m guessing you either 1.) don’t have your GED yet and want it, 2.) you know and love someone who wants to earn the GED, or 3.) you just love me so much you want to support me and my quest to help the world. Or maybe you’re procrastinating from doing your work.
- If you don’t have your GED yet and you want some help–no matter your motivation–call me. Each person is different, but identifying your motivation is something we can discuss to help give you some clarity on why you want to get this credential once and for all. Email me. Message me. Whatever. It’s free…ish. Okay, it’s free, but the primary “cost” is that you show up.
- Do you know someone who has been “stuck” in the process of getting the GED accomplished? Please feel free to share my information. In my experience, it has to be the student’s idea for it to really stick, but pointing your person in the right direction can often help. Sometimes a pep talk from an objective coach can go a long way.
- Dear friend, thank you for the love. If you feel so inclined, subscribe to this blog, share this post, or buy your favorite teacher a gift from my small Etsy shop. Now, get back to work. 😉
xoxo, Dr. Andie
firstname.lastname@example.org or 508.768.5808