What motivates us to teach?

Team IIBP Anveshan, General Psychology, Issue 4, Uncategorized

Hi, I am going to tell you a story, story of a Ghost, Mr Ekbote…” I was 5, whole class was glued to their place for more than half hour. I was enjoying attention and just knew this is what I want all my life. As I grew up the content shifted from story- telling to simplifying difficult concepts for classmates using day to day life analogies. Teaching has always been my inner calling, something that kicked in adrenaline, cheered me up on difficult days. I am sure every teacher will agree with me that lectures, discussion, joy on students face counts more than salary. But not all days are glorious.

1/3rd of Indian population is currently being formally educated. Hence teacher’s motivation is a crucial factor in educational reform. So what is it that motivates teachers? Teacher’s motivation refers to reasons that emanating from individuals’ intrinsic values to choose to teach. Sinclair (2008) classified all determinants into ten categories, including calling, students, altruism, intellectual simulation, influence of others, perceived benefits, convenience of teaching, the nature of teaching work, a desire for a career change and the ease of entry.

When I asked around, the most commonly found answer was “enthusiastic students.” Teaching is a reciprocal process incomplete without a curious audience. It is inevitable for teacher motivation to have a close relationship with students Sugino’s (2010). Interacting with amazing minds is definitely enriching.

Intellectual simulation and altruistic motivators are crucial for satisfying and enduring career in the classroom. A teacher says that the kick I get out of breaking down difficult concepts and making them graspable motivates her. Helping students explore unknown territories, instilling curiosity, making things simple to apply in day to day life, making them ready to face the world outside, helping them become aware of their strengths are factors that are beyond any curriculum.

Motivation sustains longer when they have personal meaning or are connected to a larger purpose. Vishal says “Opportunity to share and being accepted and valued and sometimes glorified motivates me.” Honour, autonomy and self-realization. Some look at teaching as an opportunity to go deep within and create an impact on human life, or contributing in creation of new generation.

To conclude, the goals which give people the greatest sustained energy and motivation are those which have personal meaning or which are connected to a larger Purpose. The Purpose level addresses the extent to which you feel connected to or receive meaning from your Work. I believe, every teacher has a Master Shifu inside and is waiting for a Panda to help him achieve his inner peace!

(N.B. I am grateful to every teacher who participated in the survey and helped me create this article).

About the Author: Dr. Mira Desai is an Experienced Psychometrician and Research consultant. She designs tools and experiments in the cognitive, emotional, and physical wellbeing domain of psychology. She is also a competent lecturer teaching statistics and research methodology for social sciences for the past 8 years.