Happy Teachers, Better Students: Three Ways to Motivate Your Teachers and Engage Your Students

Teacher in classroom speaking to pupils

Published on: Feb 6, 2017

Have you ever asked your teachers why they show up to work every day? If you have, you probably heard something like “for my students” and “because my kids are my purpose.” Most educators are selfless in their pursuit of bright, promising futures for their learners, so having tools to ensure teacher motivation is essential.

When pupils score well on projects and exams, demonstrate critical thinking, and display signs of empathy and compassion, teachers are happiest. Why? Because well-rounded and engaged students are proof of a job well done.

But, the road to student achievement isn’t an easy one. Today’s teachers are expected to handle larger classrooms and, often, under tighter budgets. They have strict lesson plans that allow little wiggle room for innovation and spontaneity. Furthermore, teachers are held to higher and higher standards while retaining little autonomy over curricula.

It’s no wonder why many educators get burned out. Luckily, there are numerous things you can do to address teacher motivation. At the end of the day, happy teachers produce better-performing students. High achieving students lead to grateful, supportive parents. And, who doesn’t want that?

By the end of this post, you’ll know three different ways to support your faculty that will ensure an academic environment that is beneficial for teachers and students.

3 Ways to Increase Teacher Motivation

I Give Teachers Autonomy

Teachers drive student learning. Which is why solutions to increase teacher motivation must include a degree of autonomy.

By factoring in the expertise of your staff, you are incorporating valuable insight into the decision-making process. The more you encourage teachers to contribute their knowledge and ideas, the more information you’ll have to make decisions that benefit the entire school.

Most importantly, reports demonstrate that when teachers feel more control over their work, they perform better and achieve positive student outcomes.

First, ask your teachers what they need. Many teachers today want to incorporate technology into their classrooms. Tools like tablets and SMART boards provide interactive and unique learning experiences that can be tailored to student needs.

Plus, they make lesson plans engaging and fun. Studies show that the more students have a good time while learning the better they are at retaining information.

Technology aside, no teacher motivation strategy is complete without letting instructors make some decisions over lesson plans. Most curricula are scripted and require little more than implementation. But, there are opportunities for enhancement and, if you’ve ever witnessed a student nod off during a lecture, you’ll understand why classrooms benefit from a bit of spontaneity and interaction.

Do any of your teachers use games to reinforce lectures? Competitions like Jeopardy and debates infuse energy into a classroom and provide opportunities for students to reflect on what they’ve learned.

For a fun way to reinforce textbook learning, have your teachers use Catchbox to quiz students. There is a myriad of ways to use our throwable mic, from a vocabulary game to a debate competition; teachers can toss the mic to students and gauge how well they know the material.

II Allow Collaboration

Teachers are lifelong learners. Which means they are constantly trying to grow and flourish. A key way to fuel teacher motivation is to provide opportunities to collaborate.

Next time your school is facing a crucial decision, why not let teachers get together to think up some solutions? Letting staff members work together is great for two reasons: to drive teacher motivation and to provide valuable learning opportunities.

If you have several new teachers on staff, try implementing a mentoring program. Newer, inexperienced teachers will benefit from opportunities to shadow and learn from more experienced teachers. Issues like classroom management, curriculum concerns, and scheduling are easier to address and solve in a friendly one-on-one environment.

Mentoring programs are useful to acclimate new teachers, but how do you motivate veteran teachers?

Train them. Seminars and training programs are necessary for professional development at all stages. No one wants to feel like a dinosaur in the face of new technologies and instructional methods. So, to keep teacher motivation high, think about the most relevant activities that will engage and inspire your staff.

If you need a bit of help deciding what to offer your teachers, then ask them! At the next staff meeting, toss Catchbox around the table and let teachers voice what they want. The bright, colorful mic will not only make the meeting fun; it will get teachers talking.

III Offer Recognition and Respect

Next to student achievement, teachers desire recognition and respect from administrators.

Think about the last time you had to give a performance review. Did your staff turn critical and defensive? That’s because listing all the things a teacher is doing wrong will hardly motivate him to do better. But, you know what will? Compliments.

That’s right, spark teacher motivation with a few words of affirmation. As one educator wrote, “Compliments are motivating. When teachers are told what they are doing well, they will keep doing what they are doing well.”

Spend a few moments each day recognizing excellence through staff memos, emails, and at meetings. Call out teachers for trying out new projects and educational initiatives. Better yet, use Catchbox for fun team-building exercises. One idea is to toss the mic around the room and encourage teachers to say a few words of gratitude and appreciation about their peers.

While compliments are always appreciated, teachers understand assessments are necessary. In fact, they want to be assessed. But, feedback, comments, and suggestions need to be fair; furthermore, standards and requirements need to be achievable.

One way to make assessments fair and balanced is to ask your staff. Another way is to allow teachers some time to reflect on their activities. Having a bit of quiet time will enable them to think about ways to improve lectures and research new ways to meet the needs of their students.

In Conclusion

Teacher motivation initiatives are necessary to maintain happy and efficient schools. The more you recognize teachers for their experience and expertise, the more valued they feel.

Are you familiar with techniques for addressing teacher motivation? If so, tell us how you motivate your faculty and staff in the comments.

And, if you found the information helpful, please share this post on Facebook and Twitter. The more everyone knows how important teacher motivation is to student achievement, the better off all schools will be.