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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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