Appreciation and Teacher Motivation

During our interactions with many teachers regarding what gives them Joy, their responses often revolve around the topic of appreciation and acknowledgement from their students.

In this context, it is important to understand expectation and appreciation. Because misplaced expectations lead to bitterness. There are layers of appreciation. Surface level appreciation lasts for only a few days. Say a compliment on the way a teacher dresses or appreciation for an award. Deeper layers of appreciation can last longer. But even these need to be sustained. Otherwise it would be bursts of motivated work. Therefore we need to look at qualities to sustain the quality of performance to receive the appropriate appreciation that we seek. If we sustain our good work as a teacher, we also grow and as a consequence we gain appreciation and recognition. The logical next step is not only subject matter expertise, but when we are actually able to impact life, in shaping good human beings, the satisfaction is even deeper and the impact is much larger. Basically we expand our window of expectations and aspirations such that we focus on long-lasting satisfaction and happiness.

When we look at teaching as a process of not just creating a good doctor or an engineer but a beautiful human being, we are expanding our aspirations. But this requires deeper levels of expertise. It’s worth striving for. The deeper we focus, when we create good human beings and when the look back at us and say these people have nurtured us, that satisfaction is much deeper. Appreciation matters, but a fundamental motivation matters more.

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