What blend of things motivate people? I'm oversimplifying motivation expert Dan Pink here: Intrinsic: 1. Autonomy (urge to control your life) 2. Mastery (desire to get better and better) 3. Purpose (serve something larger than self)
Extrinsic 1. Money 2. Peers who respect you
And I'd add for teachers: 3. Kids/parents who respect you 4. Kids who *like* you (counterproductive, but common)
A. Does this look like the right list?
B. Money and teaching is over-discussed. But 2 quick points:
The best use of money is to take the issue of money off the table . . . Effective organizations compensate people in amounts and in ways that allow individuals to mostly forget about compensation and instead focus on the work itself.
This reminds me of something Uncommon Schools' Brett Peiser told me 10 years ago, when I asked about merit pay.
Generally I don't want conversation in the teachers lounge to be about money, I want it to be about kids.
C. I'm intrigued by: peer respect.
*Here's a weird thing: it's hard to win peer respect by teaching well. Why? Logistics. Athletes watch other athletes. Writers read other writers. But teachers rarely see their peers in action: they're busy with their own students, or prepping for the next class.
*So if your peers rarely see you teach, and their respect would motivate you, how can you win their respect?
I can think of 3 opportunities:
a. In hallways: do students seem to have positive rapport with/respect for a teacher? If so, peers notice.
b. Via the grapevine: a teacher sometimes asks a kid stuff like "What's your favorite class?" If kid happens to say "I love Mr. X's class, he pushes you, he makes it interesting" then, boom, peer respect for Mr. X.
c. In staff meetings: if a teacher seems to advance good ideas, or beats back bad ideas, or rallies the troops when things get a little whiny, she'll generally earn respect.
The logistics thing strikes me as unfortunate. It'd be nice if teachers could frequently win peer respect by simply teaching well.