As highlighted in numerous studies and articles, teachers are often considered among the most underpaid professionals — yet must perform one of the nation’s most critical jobs, often under challenging circumstances. That’s why teachers are often considered a different breed. And when it comes to the job of motivating teachers to higher levels of performance, the tools used to motivate others may be different than those that will motivate them.
Here are 4 ways you can motivate teachers to higher levels of performance:
1. Provide additional resources. As with other jobs, teachers often are required to do more with less. If you’re able to build a partnership with a local university, develop an internship relationship that allows college students to partner with teachers to provide support. While this type of arrangement will require the teacher to mentor a student, it also can free up time for each to focus on different groups of students. If you do have funding to hire more qualified assistant teachers, even better.
2. Invest in their professional development. Challenge your teachers by providing them with the opportunity to learn new teaching methodologies and other leadership skills through extended workshops and seminars. Use teacher professional growth plans to help you identify different areas that could use attention. Approach this process with positive feedback, using tools like performance review software to highlight progress.
3. Acknowledge successes. Further motivate teachers by recognizing their accomplishments and deeds at a function attended by their peers and administrative staff. Make it special by getting specific feedback about how the teacher is performing her work and making a difference, whether it’s taking on extra volunteer work, specifically helping a student or taking extra steps to boost student performance. Also, don’t wait for a special event to give positive feedback. Drop a note into a teacher’s mailbox whenever you hear about something special a teacher has done. It only takes a few minutes but it can make a significant difference in motivating them.
4. Give them more responsibility. According to a study by The National Education Association, teachers want administrators to give them more authority over their classrooms — trusting that they have the experience to excel in teaching. While you can’t get away from governmental regulations, you should be able to find ways to allow teachers to have more autonomy.
Equipping teachers with these tools and motivators could be key to better performance among teachers, as well as students.