Teachers as Motivators

Public education is criticized for many reasons; most of them educational, some financial, and even some political. An increasing number of people claim that it is going downhill, and that a reform on some scale is necessary. Even parents across the nation are speaking out about what they consider to be their child’s “lack” of education. It is clear that Americans want change; but in our misguided efforts, we prefer to take our concerns to Washington instead of to the teachers themselves.

If you can picture an average high school teacher putting his students to sleep on an almost daily basis with the same constant routine, you will probably have a good idea of what my high school was like.

No, public high school teachers may not be the best motivators.

But teachers of varying levels of education are certainly not the same; college professors, for example, spend an average of eight to ten years learning their subject themselves. It is this sustained passion for learning that inspires professors to teach others and, in turn, spark their willingness to learn as well. In this sense, they are geared toward inspiring and motivating others, while public school teachers, in their prime much earlier, simply do not spend as much time preparing for their careers. However, this should not at all detract from a public school teacher’s capacity to inspire change in his/her students.

At what level of education is a teacher’s ability to motivate the most important? High school students certainly have plenty to deal with during these four years; home life, friendships, relationships, coming-of-age, and their schoolwork must all be juggled around and kept as balanced as possible. College students, on the other hand, are just beginning to venture out into what we like to call “the real world” and finally coming to a firm decision on what career they want to pursue. So where is prime motivation needed the most?

I think teachers at any level of education are not only fully obligated to motivate their students, but they are also in excellent positions to inspire change. They are the ones who teach people of all ages and spread the desire to be taught. Knowledge is indeed a powerful thing; I believe that the will to learn dwells within everyone. High school may not be the best place at which it is stimulated, but motivation is as much needed at this level as at any other. Teachers need the ability to motivate, no matter how young or old their students are.