Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others, it’s the only means” Albert Einstein.
Now, how can we feel happy, satisfied and committed to our teaching and learners? They say, a teacher who’s motivated is capable of inspiring their students.Great, I agree, so how can we motivate ourselves to give our best?
I have already quoted Carl Rogers in his idea about respect, empathy and authenticity being key to generate a positive psychological environment for learning. I couldn’t agree more and I also feel teachers need those three “ingredients” to feel good themselves. We need to be respected, understood, and faced with real people in our everyday tasks.
What other drives do we need to accomplish our mission? I see teacher motivation divided into two domains – the motivation which comes from within and the motivation which comes from the outside.
When we are intrinsically motivated, we need to participate in the pedagogical processes within the school environment, the students’ world, the country where the instruction takes place. We have a natural desire to provide our students with purpose, direction and motivation. We adapt our learning styles to our students because we have taken the time to get to know them – their likes, dislikes and capabilities.
When we are externally motivated, stress levels need to be kept at a minimum, the classroom environment needs to be lively, we need to be paid well and our hopes and feelings need to be listened to. We feel good because we have flexibility in what we teach and students cooperate and assist to accomplish our goals.
I feel a nice combination of intrinsic and extrinsic satisfied needs can bring out the best we have in our places. As a teacher we can combine our personal competencies with the competencies of students into a smoothly functioning team that can activate their will to do things.
Returning to the questions of “imprinting”:
Why do our students sometimes follow us as if we were mother/father ducks?
What makes people feel attracted to our classes?
My guess is that when we feel intrinsically and extrinsically motivated and when we become aware of how our actions and beliefs affect our students, we naturally show respect, empathy and authenticity to them. Students, in turn, choose to follow us and our lessons because they feel acknowledged and relaxed.
And … it feels great, doesn’t it?
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Quotes from colleagues on the topic of
(a)why students follow our classes and (b)teacher motivation (a big thank you for feeding me ideas!)
“I feel a sense of satisfaction most every day in the classroom. Sometimes, teaching is an absolute thrill. Both feelings come from seeing someone learn and grow. I think these joys are what drive the best teachers”
“Knowing, from the very begining, where exactly your are heading for...
Finding your own way of doing things, specially if you feel that set procedures do not meet your expectations..(nothing is more rewarding than that, you bet!)
Being creative.... and also, being aware that creativity must be nurtured as well as renewed..
Last but not least, listening to your students... just a brief comment can be a turning point, and perhaps an opportunity for innovation” Clarisa Vilchez
“I take it as a personal challenge to make Arabic learners like to express themselves in a foreign language . My country is in great need of citizens who are hily educated and open-minded . It is my contribution to improve this country is through what I am doing . There is also a kind of challenge to plan a lesson and to do it in the appropriate way and time” (Teacher doesn’t want to be quoted)
“I run my own little business teaching adults, so I have to keep my clients happy - most new students come from personal recommendation too. So much for external motivation. Internal motivation is the satisfaction I get when I see that my students have enjoyed the lesson and learnt something as well. I want them to like me too of course! Teaching is much more than just a job to me - it's an important part of my life; my mother and grandmother were also teachers, so the urge and the example to teach well and see it as a vocation comes from them too.” Maggi Wilce
“A huge respect for the teaching profession”
Our teaching strategies and materials as well as our attitudes play a vital role in shaping a positive response from our students. We should also take into account the learners’ wish and willingness to learn. Learners who have a passion or thirst for knowledge and who can feel their teachers are passionate about their jobs and do their best to do a great job are sure to regard their lessons as unforgettable experiences” Marisa Mechetti
“A relaxed confidence in front of the class helps a lot too. Students want to know that you're a leader and that you're confident you can help them” Jeremy Schaar
“I think that this beautiful connection between the learner and the teacher takes place when the teacher is able to reach the student as a “person “. I mean, when you show the learner that you are there not only to evaluate him but most important to help him overcome his fears and exploit his strengths. In addition to this, I think that this strong bond between the teacher and the student occurs when the teacher is able to open her student’s mind and make him think and reflect” Maria Victoria
“To motivate students, it is crucial to know that The complexity of motivation as a behavioral construct has compelled researchers to identify different types of motivations and examine how they influence student learning. For example, Self- Determination Theory (SDT)—proposed by Deci, Ryan, and their colleagues (e.g., Deci and Ryan 1985; Ryan and Deci 2000)—considers what types of motivation may initiate and sustain interest in learning. Two basic forms of motivation are extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation is typically driven by factors outside of the learner; extrinsically motivated students read to receive good grades, please the teacher, and outperform their classmates, but not because they find reading interesting or enjoyable. Intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, is free from the influence of external factors such as reward or punishment” Khalid Fuad