Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A New Way of Motivating

I have only two years under my belt in this teaching world, so my opinion is warped and narrow (remember that!), but what if our whole system of motivation of wacky?! Check out Daniel Pink's video.

This is certainly not the perfect prescription of what needs to change, but it does point out thoughts for change. The first major change, and it is audacious for many to conceive, is that more money does not create better results. Think about how this works inside the teaching career. We get pay raises based on time and a few bumps for masters and doctors degree (that we have to get anyhow). Does that mean all the old experienced (greatly paid) and highly qualified teachers are not doing their best? Not at all, in fact many of them are doing amazing jobs because they work well in this style of work. The problem I see, and as the video shows, is that we could get even more results from our teachers if we would allow them to make creative decisions and products that benefit the whole. This leads me to the second major change. In our current model, there much space for a teacher to be creative in their class, but little space given to those teachers for making decisions that could effect and benefit the whole staff. We have too long depended on a top down leadership that selects the tools and modalities to be used and there is little input from the little man (like me). Are we getting a mere fraction from our teaching staff because we only motivate with dollars? What can be changed about the current system that would make this new motivation work?


  1. Hi! Just saw the note on Teacher's Club, thought I'd help out. Just finished my masters, good luck! Interesting comments in your post- I agree with you. Being a younger teacher myself, I have tons of energy and ideas that would benefit some if not the whole staff but over the 8 years I have been teaching, I have slowly been turned down repeatedly that my first reaction now is to turn away from opportunities to involve myself in regards to whole staff. It's very sad and I'm sure there are many instances that this happens in many other schools. I really cringe at the phrase "past practice". As teachers, change is our bread and butter, we should be better students at it.

  2. Hi Ian, As the old saying goes, "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely." That being said we must change the structure in order to build a new more collaborative system of education. Districts, administrators and veteran teachers are more of a barrier than helper in making education more inclusive. I was an administrator for five years and hated the politics of it all.

    At this point each district or school must change and incorporate the vision. I for one do not work for the pay. I surely don't expect anything for helping other professionals other than a thank you and a return of the favor when I could use an idea or resource. It would be amazing to move more teachers and students to this model. We are part of the solution!

  3. Niemeyer and History Geek thanks so much for your response to my post. I am taking this through Learners Edge about using technology and it is all really awesome. Part of the problem is that the creativity I want to invest to make it work and beneficial to my students will probably go to waster. I find that I meet barriers in getting access to use different web tools, and I hear you clearly about being shot down on ideas. How can one not lose heart and keep trying to be an agent of change? There has to be more for me than just waiting for administration to change. I feel motivated by so much more than the dollar (my district is the 2nd lowest paying in the area, ha ha!). Do you feel yourself losing that motivation after 8, 10, 15, or 20 years down the line (I'm not sure how long you have been at it HistoryGeek)?

  4. Ian,
    I am an older educator, but I understand that our system needs transformation and not reformation. With that said I feel bad for the other writers and you for the barriers you are facing. I wish you were in my district because I am looking for educators that are risk takers and want to use 21st century tools and skills with students. I suggest that all of you are on the right track and that you develop a culture of engagement for students, be an early adapter to change (it is coming), become a leader in your district or find one that will allow you to facilitate students to be innovative, creative, and collaborative with thier lessons. All of you are a part of the solution so engage your colleagues and make it happen! Best wishes as you continue to learn and continually improve in this wonderful profession.