Motivation: Teachers or Parents?

I’m going to tip my hand—my wholehearted belief is that parents own this task.

Have you heard about this teacher? The one that blogged about her students, calling them "disengaged, lazy whiners"?


Now, I’m not about to touch the issue of whether or not a teacher should blog about their students. Only because I got my pants right in a twist about this part of the article right off the bat:

One of Munroe's former students, who now attends McDaniel College in Westminster, Md., said he was torn by his former teacher's comments. He continued: "As far as motivated high school students, she's completely correct. High school kids don't want to do anything. ... It's a teacher's job, however, to give students the motivation to learn."

I wholeheartedly disagree.

As a high school student, I worked hard in school to get good grades and I held a part-time job that kept me busy on nights and did most of my friends. Did I run with a good crowd, sure. Is that because our school was full of teachers that were motivating us?

Not really. Sure we had some great teachers, but we also had parents that expected a lot from us. Tiger Moms...maybe not, but boy, could my Dad roar when he needed to.

It’s a parents responsibility to instill work ethic, a desire to learn and be successful to their children.

A teacher’s job is to help a child master a skill or concept. To find creative ways to open their mind. To pull back the curtain on ideas, histories, arts and culture in way that invites them to dig in and explore.

I had many, many phenomenal teachers that showed me a new way to look at science, helped me as I struggled with Math or introduced me to books that would shape my thoughts and writing as I grew up.

But, motivation? That came from my parents. They modeled not only working hard, but being thorough and reliable. No teacher dangling a grade could ever do for my friends and me what our parents did—held us accountable to their standards.

Parenting comes with an enormous amount of responsibility and that responsibility doesn’t end when the kids head off to Kindergarten. The sooner, we as parents understand where our responsibility ends and teacher’s begins, the better off our kids and society will be.



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