5 Things That Motivate Teachers

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James Manwaring

James Manwaring is Director of Music for Windsor Learning Partnership, a Multi-Academy Trust in Windsor, Berkshire. He oversees music for the 4 schools in the trust and has been working in music education for 16 years. James has been nominated for a National Music Education...
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Is it impossible to motivate teachers?

Another term is upon us and teachers up and down the country will groan as they awake from a half term break and have to drag themselves to work.

And yet I won’t. I love my job and I often feel that we don’t like to admit that. There is something about teaching that has always appealed to me and resonated with me.

5 Things That Should Motivate Teachers

There are so many things that motivate me and so I thought I would share some of them with you. Here are my top 5:

1. The school environment

There is something about the school environment that I love. The way a community of staff and students come together to learn, play, rehearse, practise, eat, run, discuss and analyse.

I love walking around at break times and seeing everyone interacting. I love those moments in between lessons as everyone moves to the next lesson. I just really enjoy the community feel of school, the feeling that you are part of something.

2. My classroom

I love my classroom and it is one of my favourite places to be.

You might think that rather sad, but over several years it has become a huge part of my life. Sure I wouldn’t choose to spend my holidays in my classroom, but when I am at work I am glad to be in that room.

There are so many memories from that particular space and I look forward to making more and I love to think about all the lessons I have taught in there.

3. My colleagues

I love the staff I work with, they are such a wonderful and diverse group of like minded people.

Every staffroom has its characters and I love working with everyone. I like the challenge that they offer to me and I love the fun and enjoyment. It is great to work with a body of people who are all striving for the same thing. If you stop and think about it, everyone fundamentally wants the same thing. I love that aspect of teaching and I love it that I have a great support network.

4. The joy of teaching

I love teaching because there is always something to work towards, an end goal.

This term will be dominated by coursework and exam preparation. It is challenging, but I like the challenge. I like to push myself and try to improve on last year. It motivates me to think about the students.

5. Young people

Fundamentally, I love working with young people. I think they are brilliant. They are all different, with diverse personalities and possibilities. Of course some are more challenging than others, but they are there and need us teachers.

Some of them come from challenging background and situations and they need us to be role models and to help them get the best shot in life.

Some are highly academically driven and need us to challenge them and motivate them. But young people are great and we have the privilege of speaking into their lives and helping them mould themselves into a someone ready for the world. There is of course only so much we can do in the short time we teach them, but I am motivated every day by the thought that I will make a difference.

And finally…

Now, I am not sure if I have motivated you at all. But maybe I have given you cause to stop and reflect on why you do this job.

It might be that you have fallen out of love with it all. Well I urge you – forget Ofsted, Targets, Date, Planning, Reports & deadlines. Just forget those things for one minute.

Now remind yourself what you love about this job. Remind yourself why you started it. Put that as your motivation. Things will come along and get in the way and there will be frustrations, just like in any job. But I motivate myself by thinking about my clients – the students in front of me.

I want to do the best I can for them and that won’t happen if I stop remembering that I am there for them. I want to go into next term motivated!

Writing this blog has motivated me to keep going and reminded me that I love teaching. Is it impossible to motivate teachers? I hope you have a great term! I can’t solve all your problems, but I can challenge you to be motivated by what matters.

5 thoughts on “5 Things That Motivate Teachers

  1. Hey guys thanks so much this was just what I needed to get me through a heavy week!! It can be very easy to forget how much we love the job when you take away all the unnecessary work we have to do also. I think I am going to print this out and stick it on the wall in the office to keep me and my rltean motivated 24/7 again thank you so much!

  2. I am so glad that you enjoyed the post! It is an amazing job and I love it. I have had ofsted in this week and I am reminded just how much I care about education and my school. Keep up the good work and do tweet us the picture of this on your wall!!

  3. Hey James, nice post. Thanks for sharing. I’ve got an MA student who is doing their masters dissertation on leadership and teacher motivation – did you dig up any academic, scholarly articles on the topic at all? Carol @DrCWebbBAPhD

  4. Thanks for SUCH a motivational read!!!! Definitely pushed the right buttons – and yes, I am constantly reminding myself why I am in education – “It is to provide a service to my clients – the students!!!!” and yes, I want to deliver the best service possible.

    I love what I do – and it’s the journey of EVERY single student that I’m part of – whatever difference I can make & a possible impact I have on their life….and not forgetting that I am learning from them too! The students ARE a huge part of why I love going to work – but also, I didn’t realise how important the working environment is…….I’m constantly working hard and when other people don’t pull their weight/or you get blamed for something/or your manager doesn’t support you – this IS the biggest reason for being upset!!!! So for me, the motivation is clear – and I DO genuinely wake up being happy with what I’m doing (even if I’m faced with challenges of poor/rude students/OFSTED/department pressures).

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