Remember those burned-out teachers you had in middle or high school? They’d been teaching for decades and the passion for the profession was all but gone. They rolled into class, looking like they wanted to be anywhere but there. Maybe they were mostly to blame for the state of their minds. Or maybe the system pushed them in that direction. Whatever the reason, you can only imagine what effect such low morale had on their students.
In a recent chat on edweek.org about student motivation, several readers posed that question: Does low teacher morale have an impact on student motivation? “Absolutely,” answered Carol Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford University and one of the Aug. 30 chat guests. “Students need to feel that learning is exciting and that their teacher is completely devoted to helping them develop their intellectual skills. ... How can this take place in a classroom with low teacher morale?”
Researchers, policymakers, superintendents, and principals—especially those in districts struggling to improve student achievement—need to keep this in mind as they hatch their master plans for how to improve their schools.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Motivation Matters blog.