Motivation plays a significant role to develop oneself in the profession he /she belong to. A motivated professional gives greater service to the organization than the unmotivated ones. Hence, the profession and the organization get greater service from a motivated one. Teaching proves not exception. Rather it calls for high motivation as the teachers shoulder the solemn responsibility to build up the future leaders of a nation. But in teaching there is a lot of research on ‘motivation’ and most of it is associated with student motivation in education. Further the issue seems to be addressed (especially in ELT) more in terms of extrinsic mode like providing interesting materials. There is little research as far as we know on the issue of teacher motivation. It has been observed that the main focus of teachers is students and for students it is teachers. In many cases it is just heard that teachers often complain that students are not interested to learn anything new. Students when asked reply that teachers are not interested in teaching. Actually, the problem lies with both the groups but none of the groups are quite aware of the fact.
It is true that when teachers are unmotivated they surely pass on that attitude to their students. There is an Arabic proverb that says, “He who doesn’t have a thing won’t give it. The question is, then, how to get teachers motivated or as Jeremey Harmer put it motivating the unmotivated. It is also true that t many teachers do come into this job just because they can’t get another one. For this category teaching is mainly a source of income. They come to the classroom because otherwise they won’t be paid their salary. I think that we can’t talk about intrinsic motivation in this case. They surely lack it. However, there is another chance of getting these people motivated. It’s by providing some extrinsic motivation. In this case, it’s usually some inspection and an obligation to respect deadlines and do their job well. The problem is that students do feel whether their teacher is intrinsically motivated about his/her job or no. being just extrinsically motivated, the teacher has nothing to teach the students on being motivated and loving one’s job and all that . In this case, the teacher would rely on the extrinsic motivation of the students to get them do their class work. Exams are usually a source of extrinsic motivation for students. Since their teacher, sometimes their ideal person is not interested in the subject they won’t be, too. What we get then is an extrinsically motivated teacher working with extrinsically motivated students.
Students can sense it when the teacher himself is not interested in the subject he is teaching. It goes without saying that modern students have different tastes and we must respect them. That’s we must change our methodology. If we provide our teachers with modern facilities such as smart boards, data projectors, CDs and DVDs they‘ll be more and more motivated to attend their classes. Imagine you have to teach the same book with the same method for years. Every teacher might lose his interest. Students’ interest contributes to teachers’ motivation. Students’ energy do play an important part in teachers’ motivation. We feel really motivated when we are learning new things. We should believe that our openness to accept the new is also important. But then we need to be given the space to do so. Some teachers are so loaded that when they come back home they just want to sleep. Flexibility and openness to the new also keep us motivated. We should try to be open to hear the students and attend to their needs. Games, humour, technology give a nice spice to our teaching. When preparing a class we should try to picture myself as student and ask if we would enjoy it.
Intrinsic motivation comes from within and no matter the circumstances , it can even dwindle and sometimes be no more than a sparkle of the fire that set it into motion but it has to be there at all times. So, teachers have to be reminded of what made them choose to be where and what they are. And these choices be it for money matters or otherwise, have to be firmly acknowledged by them as such, because in life, you only stick to what you believe in and being remind of your choices leads to a renewal in your commitments thus a new found resilience and hopefully, better teaching. Teachers are constant learners and once reminded of their status they will soon resort to doing what they should do best, that is, to learn. As in tandem comes good teaching that can happen anywhere and anyhow as long as there is true interest and commitment.
Teachers need to be trained continuously and groomed to become better teachers. This would require lot of initiative by the concerned school or college. Teachers should be sponsored to ensure that they participate in programs which will expose them to the latest methodologies and thus ensure value addition, which will get reflected during the teaching process. It will not only add on their qualification and expertise but also build up their loyalty and motivation. The role that a teacher plays in shaping up the life of a student cannot be compensated at all, without the slightest exaggeration. Ultimately when you finish the training process, you make the participants ready to take on any kind of challenge with lot of confidence. Moreover, his family is also taken care of automatically.
To be able to motivate our students teachers must be motivated. Teaching English is a great opportunity to improve ourselves as motivated teachers because in no other profession you are expected to be aware of what is going around. We must always update us. The language teachers can see the world from a very wide perspective. If we are not lucky enough to be praised regularly, then we must adapt a new way to motivate ourselves. It’s very important. Without motivation success won’t come and we will just be ordinary teachers.
Writer: Programme Manager, BRAC Education Program, PACE, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Email: [email protected]