Guide for motivating teachers (I)

Excerpt from my book - Motivation for teaching career, Bucharest University Publishing House, 2010

Exercise 1:

Evaluate your own motivation for being a teacher on a scale from 1 to 10 (where 1 is the lowest level of motivation and 10 the highest). Where are you at this moment in time? Do not try to justify your choice. Go for the first choice you can think of. This intuitive option represents your START point.

Motivation for teaching career

cadru didactic Adolescența   o perioadă dificilă
Exercise 2

What motivates you?

Initial stage/phase
Think about the motivation typology described above. Analyse your own motivation for the teaching career. To what type of motivation it is related? 

Types of motives
Rank (1 minimum/lowest rank minim, ... maximum/highest rank)
Motivation of power

Motivation of achievement

Motivation of affectivity

Motivation of approval

Motivation of curiosity

Try now to describe it in one phrase which shares a personal experience for the choice you made (e.g. I feel good when I have the power – as a teacher – because students are listening to me and do not contradict me).
Offer such a description for each one of the motives above, regardless the rank it occupies is a low or a high one.

Final stage/phase
Now gather the different elements from above in a motivation profile. Start with those which posses the highest rank and end with those with the lowest rank.

I am motivated when:
I am powerful and the others listen to me



Put in practice the two stages/phases of the exercise each month out of three, evaluating then the motivation on a scale from 1 to 10 (1 minimum level, 10 maximum level). Register the differences (if they appear) from one month to another. Make this exercise every three months and notice the way in which your motivation profile changes.

Exercise 3

Think that the teaching profession does not exist anymore! Starting tomorrow there won’t be any more teachers anywhere in the world. You have to choose a new career. Try to search deep inside you, to remember the passions and desires to which you have given up somewhere along your life. Choose three other professions you might practice. Do not take into account the fact that you do not possess a specific training in the area (for instance, if a building engineer career seems more appealing to you but you do not have any training, this should not be a barrier in choosing this career among the three).
Now identify two reasons for which each of the three careers might be attractive to you.

I wish I were a doctor because I would like to be able to save people.
I wish I were an astronaut because I would like to discover new things, etc.

In this moment you have identified motives for you would make choices. These motives are powerful enough to make you choose sometimes a profession which you do not have any chance to follow right away. But let’s think about it…
Put all the six motives in your motivation profile. Try now to bring those things in the profession you are practicing right now – the one of a teacher. Let us take the examples described above. You can save people as a teacher too: the lives of the students you are working with are highly influenced by the way in which you succeed to communicate with them. You can always discover new things if you try to identify the best ways to make students to be attracted by the subject you are teaching...
Do not feel discouraged if things do not always seem to fit. Sometimes motives for which you chose to be a teacher seem to be completely unfit for the teaching profession. If you insist you might find at a certain moment that exactly these reasons can generate the most attractive elements for the teaching career! 

Exercise 4

Sometimes the routine, stress, exhaustion – which accompany each profession are responsible in the teaching career for the decrease in motivation process as well. How can we fight this things whose appearance is natural, but which can lead to inefficiency issues both at the level of the teacher-student relationship and at the level of the teacher himself/herself. In other words the teacher starts to work at a lower quality level, but he/she will be even unhappy and more stressed by his/her own condition.
One of the exercises we can use in order to fight such depreciation in quality of educational activity is that of up-dating the initial motivational perspective. When you decided that your professional life should unfold in this context/environment you had for sure motives which made the selected choice a success. Try to remember this motivation (and also to remember the state of mind that moment produced) and to bring it into the present context. For instance, the parents who have a conflict with their children can become more moderate when watching pictures or movies with their own family from the time when they where children. The past happiness transposed in the present can help them to find those inner sources to accept more easily the present state of the art and to identify a specific way of overcoming problems. In a similar way, this exercise can be useful in each moment when the present situation represents a deterioration of a past one.
Supplementary: Try an imagination exercise: if now you would be a fresh graduate (in case you have more experience in the classroom) would you still choose a teaching career? If your answer is YES then surely your motivation for the teaching career is still present but it must be refreshed.

(to be continued)

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