Student Motivation: X Factor

Before I became a mother, I often had students' parents question my judgement on school related matters.  Parents told me that I didn't understand X, Y, or Z because I wasn't a mother.  We were discussing school related issues, not parenting issues so why did it matter? I revised my opinion somewhat after I became a parent of a school aged child.  Although I don't think being a parent makes you a better teacher, I do think it gives you a different perspective.

Student motivation was my biggest surprise as a mother. This is a topic that is often glossed over in undergraduate programs which is such a shame because your job is much easier when students are engaged.  We have endless inservice meetings about raising test scores, right?  Don't you think your students' scores would go up if they are more engaged and motivated about learning?  So, why not approach raising test scores from this direction?

Think about your own work experience.  Have you ever worked for a vanilla principal?  This is a principal who is competent, does all that is required of his/her job description, but is lacking the X factor.  It doesn't take Simon to tell when the X factor is missing!

Contrast that experience of working for a principal with the X factor.  When you are teaching under a Principal X, you stretch yourself professionally, collaborate more with your colleagues, and you build relationships with your students and their parents.  You can almost hear that song from the Coca-Cola commercial playing in your head.


So if we as adults, who are mature enough to be intrinsically motivated, work differently for a principal with the X factor . . . what does this say about our students?  What are the qualities of a teacher with the X factor?

Although students are motivated by different things, we all want to feel like we have value.  You can show your students they have value in many different ways.  I found some great resources to give you some ideas to try.


~DeAnne~ said...

So true---that it doesn't make you a better teacher, just a different perspective! Thanks for the Article links.

First Grade and Fabulous

Mann Family said...

Great articles. This is EXACTLY what I needed right now.
I teach 2nd grade and last year I had a very motivated and sweet groups of kids. However, this year my new group of little ones are very immature, they fight constantly and lack motivation. I spend more time correcting behavior than I do teaching my content area lessons.
I have been looking for ways to help this group before I have completely lost them.
My kids come to me each morning and some have had a difficult morning or witnessed something unthinkable the night before (I teach in an urban, Title 1 school). I love my job and I value each student, but I have been racking my brain as to how to reach this group.
Again, thank you for your attention and resources to this matter.