Thursday, November 7, 2013

What Motivates the Teacher

What motivates the learner? How can you motivate your students? Do the students have internal motivation, or do they require external motivation?

Numerous questions that have numerous answers in the education sector. Students make up an important part of the learning process thus they need to be motivated. But how about the teacher? What happens when you have unmotivated teachers with motivated students?

Teachers should not be neglected. The education system should find numerous ways to motivate them.

Teaching in many countries comes with a poor paycheck. So that might not be the prime motivator for teachers. My medical insurance was never even covered. In one school I taught, the amount given in place of medical insurance was 10 JD which roughly equals 20 USD. In Palestine, this does not even cover a doctor's fees. If you literally only used this amount when seeing a doctor, you would need to see a doctor one month and wait for your next paycheck to actually purchase medication. So the motivator is not money - or medical insurance.

Many heads of schools will ask: "How can we motivate teachers if we are on a limited budget?"
Some will complain that: "Teachers will leave once they are offered a better paycheck."

There is truth in these statements. But as a head of a school, would you not also leave if your paycheck could barely cover your primary (your family's) needs?

As a teacher, I will give you some advice; take it or leave it.

How to motivate teachers and keep them:

  • Make sure their basic needs are covered: if a teacher cannot afford their basic needs, or if their paycheck is not enough to cover their needs till the end of the month then do not expect them to stay. People work to keep their integrity, not to constantly ask others to loan them till their next paycheck;
  • Acknowledgement: your teachers are humans, and many of them may be extroverts which need a pat on the back every now and then. Teachers also take their work home which takes time from their personal lives. This is a huge downside of teaching. So acknowledge your teachers for the work they are doing both at work and at home. 
  • Professional Development: Having professional development courses will bring something new to your teachers and your institution. This will make teachers feel that the institution cares for them and their career, thus a big motivator. Teachers might get bored of the monotonous cycle of the school system especially after a few years. This will help them to bring the best into their classrooms and to the institution. If these courses are satisfying, they will think twice before leaving your institution to go elsewhere. 
  • Gatherings: Ger your teachers together for a breakfast, brunch, or lunch. Prepare different activities and games. Give a feeling that this institution is a family that they belong to.

Another motivator for teachers is the students. So make sure to help the teacher (especially new ones) to solve issues they may be having with their students.