Student Motivation – Anyone? Anyone? Anyone?


One of the primary reasons students are not motivated in the classroom is because their teachers are not motivated about teaching. Students, in many ways, mirror the standards, expectations, culture, and enthusiasm that the teacher sets. Remember Ferris Bueller’s teacher – I’m surprised he didn’t put himself to sleep while teaching. The sad reality is teachers like this are not just in the movies.

Now I’m not saying that teachers should do a song-and-dance to keep students interested, but they should have enthusiasm for the content as well as the student. If your school is fortunate enough to have these teachers, make sure your kids are in their class. There’s a lot of value to the saying “choose the teacher instead of the class.” I would much rather be in a math class with an enthusiastic teacher than an psychology class with someone reading monotone from the textbook daily. (Only when you know how much I dislike math will you realize how weighty this statement is). Think about your best teachers. You may have thought they were weird because of their passion for a subject, but you probably loved the class and found it entertaining.

If you’re a teacher, I encourage you to bring your best energy everyday. Energy is contagious in a classroom. I’ve seen first hand the most boring and complicated subject loved by students because of the teacher. At my school AP calculus is a popular class, and I believe it’s mainly due to the two teachers who teach it. They love students and love math, and students love taking the classes (even though there may be questionable days). The economics teacher across the hall brings her best daily with creative lessons, real world problems, and a genuine love for students. Today, my son is an economics major, and I credit some of this decision to the positive experience he had in her class.

What if your child is in a class with an uninspiring or even boring teacher? Make the content come alive at home. My youngest daughter had to do a rock project a few years ago in school; this project did not appeal to her girly-girl nature. But she had not met the “rock man” yet. Our neighbor is an award winning rock hunter (weird, I know), so I called to see if Brooke and her friend Bailey could get some rock collecting tips from him. He invited us over, and when we got there, he had all of his rocks out and talked to the girls for at least 90 minutes non-stop about rocks. He was so excited about rocks, and the girls became excited about their rock projects. Even today, Brooke has carried some of the rock knowledge from that night with her. If a girly-girl can get excited about rocks due to a person’s enthusiasm, anything is possible!

How can you enhance your student’s learning at home by showing enthusiasm for the content they are studying?

If you’re a teacher, what can you do to be more enthusiastic in the classroom?

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