Many who work in the in the field of education have looked for tips written for teachers on how to motivate their students. It looks like there do exist a great number of teachers who have a great sense of responsibility and duty. They want to learn how to motivate their students better and become more effective inspirers. Such a well-intentioned desire, of course, rightfully deserves our applause and appreciation, but it could also very well be a misguided and unrealistic one.
Stress could come from a great many sources for teachers. Sometimes the stress comes from having to teach perpetually unmotivated students. At other times, parents could be hardwired to be unreasonable, inconsiderate, or outright ignorant. These could well be problems that cannot be expected to go away anytime soon or maybe even in the foreseeable future. Where deadlocks occur, teachers’ optimism and belief that they do what they do to make a difference could lead to an eroding sense of frustration or even despair.
This is a point of time when a key paradigm shift could help them replenish their energy and hope by turning to a more inner and more fundamental source of motivation. Teachers should remember that they probably did not become teachers in the first place just to make a difference. Or rather, making a difference should not only be defined as making students learn more. It should also be about actualising themselves, acting on and practising their own love for the art of teaching and injecting some beauty into this world. The sweat and toil teachers have put to their teaching may not have not managed to inspire students, but teachers themselves could have learnt something from the process. Their work in itself, even if unappreciated, will still stand as works of art.
Teachers should all remember that they are not just there to make a difference to the world. They are also there because they love to teach and to be inspired. Teaching, being a mutual process of inspiration, may not always lead to win-wins, but we need not make lose-wins feel like a lose-lose.