Teacher motivation is a huge determining factor as it relates to student motivation. If you look at the job description of a teacher you probably won’t find the word motivate. However, the ability to motivate is an important part of the job. Certainly life would be so much easier if students came into the classroom fully motivated to chase their vision of success with no need for redirection. As wonderful as this sounds, we know that this is not reality. Students will need motivation and redirection along the way. Some will need it more than others. Teachers who struggle with this reality will find it difficult to continue in this profession and give their best. This is true because they will spend so much energy stating the obvious and wondering when will the students be held more accountable. I would never dismiss these feelings. Teachers who feel this way care deeply about students. They know that it’s hard to be successful in life if you constantly have to be motivated. Unfortunately, the circumstances cause many of these teachers to burnout.
The danger in dwelling on these thoughts is that they ultimately become toxic and threaten your motivation. As the leader in the classroom you need to be the most motivated person in the world. Teacher motivation serves as a fire that can provide a spark to light the motivational fire of students. Though you may not be a trained motivational speaker, your joy and positive energy is enough to transfer your motivation to your students. Sometimes, you need to motivate yourself. Please check out these tips to increase your motivation:
1. Write down why you became a teacher
Make a habit of reviewing your WHY once a day. This can serve as a reminder and a means of course-correction when those negative thoughts try to enter your mind.
2. Take Mental Breaks
I encourage you to take a day off every now and then (Yes, as a principal, I am encouraging you to take a day off!). When you aren’t at your best, the job becomes a grueling chore. You aren’t serving, you are grinding. Burnout is not too far away at this point. Use some of your days throughout the year to recharge your battery.
3. Maintain a keepsake box/folder
As time goes on, you will receive positive notes/keepsakes from students and parents. Also, so many students have a gift for expressing themselves with their words or creations. Ultimately, you will be the recipient of one of these tokens of appreciation. Cherish these and keep them in one place. They will fill you with joy each time you review them.
4. Own your Professional Development
You PD helps you to move forward when times are challenging. Good PD should change you and inspire you to try something new. New learning fills you with hope and gives you tools to solve problems. Teacher motivation will remain high if there are more solutions than problems.
5. Visit with your Principal
Make a habit of visiting with your principal to discuss the overall progress of the school towards the vision. These conversations can add clarity to decisions made by administration. This clarity can improve overall teacher motivation by conveying the message that the work is not in vain. When teachers believe that their efforts are helping to move the school in the right direction, teacher motivation is high and student achievement and motivation is up.
If you try these tips or you have some that work for you, please leave a comment below. Never forget…..Teachers Are Leaders.