A Rare Connection – How Teachers Can Be Motivators

A Rare Connection - How Teachers Can Be Motivators

Nina Lawrence, Senior Columnist

Since I was a child, the relationships that I’ve shared with teachers have bled far past the last bell at the end of the day, and well into the hours I spend at home. Not only does the motivation to do homework with sufficient effort come easier with a genuine relationship and respect for a teacher, but the motivation to be good as a person increases. The constant of having a smiling face who believes in you each morning when you walk into the building is a feeling unlike any other; it feels good to know that unconditionally, there will be a stable source of inspiration regardless of how bad a day you had before.

I fully understand that teachers are not always motivators; to some, teachers are a major source of anxiety and pressure to be perfect and do well. In the busy world of sports and jobs that teenagers live in, walking into a classroom every day to immediately hear the teacher say “essay due Friday” or “chapters 1-6 due tomorrow” may not be a warm or comforting welcome. While I understand this frustration from my peers, my experience has come more from a place of respect for the teachers and the substance of the work, rather than believing the work to be mundane or hollow. I believe that it depends on the student’s relationship with school, which is sometimes innately and irreversibly negative; however, the physical and mental escape of school has been a positive part of my life since my youngest years at Ross Elementary School. 

I’ve had experiences with teachers who had no idea that their impact was as permeating to myself: a smile or presence that sent an electric shock through the air every time we entered the classroom. It made the stresses of every other difficult block of the day fade away for the next 55 minutes. The moment that you tell a teacher that they possessive an accepting and supportive energy in the classroom, there is shared gratitude especially important to students who don’t receive support at home; or, on the side of the spectrum that most don’t look at, a sense of accomplishment to teachers who try their best to provide a safe space but feel as though they’ve failed, simply because expressing recognition for the teacher’s efforts doesn’t come easy to all students.

It may seem like the whole “pay back the respect” aspect of the school experience is a sign of the classic “teacher’s pet” or “goody-two-shoes”, but it genuinely feels difficult for me to receive such consistent support without feeling the need to give back my best work and effort, even if they’re not necessarily the best in the class or in terms of their final grade. There may be someone else in your class who invisibly, but desperately needs a breath of fresh air when they enter the school; therefore, teachers have become a pillar for my academic experience that will leave a stain on my memory of the last twelve years.