Educators fall into a special class of people for many reasons. Most of all, educators are eager for summer to end and return to teaching. So what do you think motivates teachers each year to return highly motivated. Katrina Schwartz article “What Motivates Teachers?” published in Mind Shift July of 2014, sums up teacher motivation in two words–“my students”. While it is the end of a calendar year, I have found Christmas break heading into a new calendar year to be another highly motivating time for teachers, a sort of fresh beginning point in the school year.
Teachers are joined in this eagerness by the parents of their students. Students might not share this eagerness to return to school each Fall or in January. However, educators perform miracles and change the student reluctance to return into excitement for learning. Administrators can keep the flame burning and teachers highly motivated by listening, involving and supporting the teachers. Aimee Hosler, a writer and mother of two who is very passionate about school explains in her article “Six Ways to Really Motivate Teachers” . Aimee stresses that teachers need space to think and plan; respect from students, parents and administration; and to be challenged. In addition to these steps, schools must find a means to support the staff with resources, compensation and at times empathy to accomplish their mission of providing a high quality education to all students.
The task for an administrator is to nurture the teaching staff all the while you push for a strenuous curriculum that meets every students need. So, when do you push and when do you praise….if only there was a secret formula to mix these two functions for an administrator. My advice would be to seek a balance rather than a constant diet of pushing or praising. And, always genuinely give praise as it is deserved versus simply providing praise because it is ‘praises’ turn in order to keep balance.