Have you ever wondered where motivation comes from? Most of us have been to hear a motivational speaker at some point in our lives. We take notes, agree that this is great stuff, then leave and don’t do anything different. What happened?

Hardly a day goes by where we as teachers try to figure out how to get particular students motivated. How do we get them to WANT to learn? I don’t think there is any secret formula to motivating people. The truth is….motivation has to come from within. We really can’t motivate other people. The only person we can truly motivate is ourselves. We have to come to the point where the pain of changing is less than the pain of staying the same.

Obviously there are many things that can help motivate us in the right direction. The greatest motivator I have found is something that we can all do: love them. When you teach kids (or adults for that matter), they seem to sense it if you really care for them or if you are just punching the clock and living for the weekend.

When we are able to love a student for who they are, hold them accountable for their work, and encourage them along the way, there is a great chance that they will eventually come around. The kids who come from dysfunctional homes are numerous and probably one of the greatest challenges we face as educators. The kids get caught in the crossfire and then are dropped off at school for the day.

I am writing this to every teacher who has that kid or kids who just don’t fit in. They come to school with attitude. They pick fights and have a hard time getting into the routine of the day. They would rather be anywhere but school. We just have to give them hope. That is it. If they believe that things CAN change for the better, they will have hope. If they believe that at some point they WILL understand math, they WILL be able to read, and they WILL be able to get along with other kids…they will have hope.

Hope is a beautiful thing. We all need it to survive in this crazy world we live in. Give your students the two things they need most to get motivated: hope and love.


Dan Skognes

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: