STEM Teacher - Student Research Foundation

Teachers’ Commitment to their Students Was their Strongest Motivation During the Pandemic

“Teachers say working with students kept them motivated at the start of the pandemic,” an article that Beth Daley wrote in The Conversation on October 7, 2021, reports reassuring findings about teachers’ strong dedication to their students.

Ms. Daley reports that before the pandemic began, she had begun a study of teachers’ enthusiasm for performing different job duties. At that point, her study found that of all the tasks teachers undertake on the job, working with students was the most satisfying. While her study was underway, Covid-19 struck and classrooms shut down. But her study found that at that time, teachers remained strongly motivated to continue teaching because they wanted so much to support their students.

In her article, Ms. Daley reports that now that the pandemic is subsiding, her research into teacher satisfaction will continue. The result will be a valuable statistical understanding of how teachers’ job satisfaction might have been affected by the pandemic.

To quote from the article in The Conversation . . .

“Our results are a reminder of how teachers are often driven by what are referred to as the `psychic rewards’ of teaching – the psychological benefits of making a difference in the lives of kids through direct interactions.”

Reassuring Implications of this Research

We find it uplifting that teachers’ love of working with students, which must have been their greatest motivation for entering the profession, continued to provide them with the greatest satisfaction in their jobs.

It is doubly reassuring that their love of teaching was their greatest motivation to continue to teach their students, even remotely during the pandemic. And we expect that a love of teaching students will be the force that motivates teachers and makes them feel satisfied as the pandemic subsides.

It comes as no surprise that teachers love students, and love to teach them. And it might also not be surprising that many of the frustrations that teachers report about their jobs, such as “teaching to the test” and filing reports, prove to be the most frustrating because they take them furthest from the experience of working directly with students.

Teachers love to teach, and how reassuring it is that that dedication will sustain students in the months and years ahead while our educational system normalizes.

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