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How to Motivate and Reward Teachers Essay

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Updated: Jan 15th, 2022

Theories of motivation that apply to the school environment

The term theory refers to a set of statements that give explanations to phenomena. There are several theories that explain human behavior. These theories include Maslow’s, Herzberg, Vroom’s, Mac Gregory (X and Y theory), Skinner (reward theory), and Adams theories among others. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs presents five levels of employees’ needs: basic, safety, social, ego, and self actualization (Slotovitch, Clark, & Condly, 2011, pp. 40-45). The theory suggests that human beings must satisfy their basic needs before other needs. This theory is also applicable in motivating teachers to work hard. The school administration should ensure that they meet the basic and safety needs of teachers. Once teachers get this, they can thrive to meet the social, ego, and self actualization needs. All these levels of needs are vital in motivating teachers to work hard.

Herzberg categorized motivation factors as satisfiers and hygiene. The satisfiers: recognition and achievement leads to job satisfaction. On the other hand, hygiene factors, such as job compensation and security, result to job dissatisfaction. Moreover, Vroom’s expectancy motivation theory assumes that “employees’ efforts lead to performance; thus, resulting to rewards”. In addition, employees put efforts that are proportional to their expectations. Positive rewards increase employee motivation, consequently, increasing performance levels (Ali & Ahmed, 2003, pp. 21-28). These theories also explain how the school administration can motivate teachers to work hard. The two theories apply to the teaching discipline just like in any other career.

Deci and Ryan study indicated negative consequences of monetary rewards on the performance. In addition, they noted that monetary rewards control the behavior of employees directly; thus, reducing the employee’s intrinsic motivation. This theory is vital especially to the teaching career. Many principals think that money is the only way to motivate employees. However, there are several non-monetary rewards that employers can give to teachers. Such rewards promote intrinsic motivation among the teachers. Reio and Callahon study showed that both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation contributed to higher performance (Hafiza et al, 2011, pp. 4-7). This theory is relevant in the teaching occupation. This is because both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards motivate teachers to work hard and produce quality results.

Extrinsic and intrinsic motivation

Extrinsic motivation refers to external rewards such as gifts that encourage employees to work hard. Employees get tangible rewards as an appreciation for their hard work. The main aim for the rewards is to motivate them to work harder (Gurkel, 2006). On the other hand, intrinsic motivation refers to the inner desire of employees to achieve the set goals. Both forms of rewards are vital in ensuring that employees offer their best while on duty. However, many scholars argue that intrinsic motivation is better than the extrinsic one.

Extrinsic motivation is the act of manipulating the behavior of employees. This involves inducing an external reward that makes employees shape their actions. The main aim of this exercise is to make employees achieve high organizational goals. Employees will no longer work hard if they do not receive the reward. In extrinsic motivation, hard work does not come from within. There should be a deliberate move from management to make employees improve performance. On the other hand, intrinsic motivation is an inner drive. The foundation of intrinsic motivation is that employees have towards work. This is the best form of employee motivation because it is not costly. The other advantage of employee intrinsic motivation is that it prevails for a longer time in comparison with the extrinsic one. All that management needs to do is to provide a supportive environment for employees to perform their duties. Both forms of motivation are relevant in the teacher career. There are several approaches that school management can apply this concept in encouraging teachers to put in their best. In real life situation, extrinsic motivators are more than intrinsic ones. The same scenario applies to the teacher career.

Extrinsic motivators for teachers

Loans without interest

Most of the students pay a large proportion of their school fees at the beginning of each academic year. This money is to be spent during the course of the year. As a result of this, most schools take the money to their bank accounts. On the other hand, teachers like other employees have lots of bills to settle. Some of them get bank loans using their pay slips as collateral. This means that they borrow their student’s school fees to settle out their bills. One disadvantage with bank loans is the high interest rates. The other disadvantage is the bureaucracies that come with bank loans. Instead of teachers struggling to get loans from financial institutions, the schools can offer them interest free loans.

Giving teachers interest free loans is a motivating factor. The teachers can make use of the money instead of it lying dormant in the schools bank account. The banks trade with the money and pay the schools little or no interest on deposits. Saving the teachers from the hassles of acquiring credit motivates them to work hard. The schools should reduce bureaucracies to help teachers acquire loans easily. This will make teachers love their job and never wish to get out of teaching. Saving teachers from the high market interest rates motivates them to work hard. This also allows the teachers allocate more time to their work instead of moving up and down looking for funds.

One key for occupational success is peace of mind. There is no way an employee can settle on work if there is a lot of financial stress surrounding him. The school administration can help teachers settle on work by being part of their financial solution. The policy should also be flexible so as to meet with the requests of the teachers. It should ensure that they remain with a reasonable amount of disposable income for their daily consumption. The monthly installments should be affordable, and payments should be by the check off system. This will motivate the teachers to give their best while on duty. Instead of the school’s income lying dormant in their account, it can become a vital motivating factor to the teaching staffs.

Pay for remedial classes

The time teachers should arrive on duty, and sign out is in their job description. However, some teachers go an extra mile while on duty. They either arrive on duty early or leave school late. Most of them have the inner desire of seeing students excel in their studies. The school administration should not take such a move for granted. Some teachers sacrifice their weekends to ensure that students become successful citizens. The school administration should appreciate such efforts by offering such teachers with an extra compensation. Parents can help in paying for these extra class hours. This will help teachers receive value for their sacrifice. Any teacher who gets compensation for extra time spent on duty will be willing to spend extra time on work.

Offering teachers with free meals

Free meals by the school administration are another source of motivation to teachers. Teachers who arrive in school early should be served with breakfast. All teachers should also be served with the ten o’clock tea. At lunch time, the school administration should provide teachers with lunch. Serving tea or porridge to teachers in the evening is also vital in motivating them. Teachers who stay in school up to late doing formal duties should be served supper before leaving for home. It is out of order for teachers to spent lots of money in restaurants when the school can offer them meals. This scenario mostly affects teachers who reside far from the school. As teachers sacrifice their time to ensure the schools perform well, they should remain comfortable while in school. Making teachers spent on meals are a de-motivating factor. As teachers eat together, they share so much. Meal time helps in building teamwork, which is vital for organizational success.

Compensating teachers for quality grades

The school administration should compensate teachers on quality grades they record in national exams. Such grades market the school and they should never be taken for granted. Teachers can be encouraged to prepare their students better they receive rewards for such grades. The office of the director of studies should set a standard of rewarding teachers for each quality grade they record. This will help teachers spent a reasonable portion of their time preparing students. Teachers will also seek recognition by recording the highest number of quality grades. This is not a loss to the school because quality grades attract new students’ hence high income levels for the school. This is simply using what the teachers bring in to reward them. The schools continue to receive higher benefits as they keep on motivating their teachers.

Offering teachers with comprehensive life insurance covers

There is nothing that motivates employees than assuring them that their health is secure. Most schools offer their teachers with shallow health covers. This leaves teachers with lots of medical bills to cater for. It is a high time that schools should provide their teachers with comprehensive life insurance covers. This should include meeting of all medical bills, burial expenses for close family members, and compensation for death of the nuclear family members. Once employees have an assurance that their health is safe, they work so comfortably. The best way to motivate teachers is by safeguarding their health and that of their close family members.

Financing retreats for the teachers

Ensuring that teachers receive enough fun while on duty is critical for the performance of the school. The administration should sponsor teachers to go for retreats. Teachers should be given an approximately one week retreat especially after completing an academic year. Such a retreat should be non academic. In the middle of the year, the school administrations should celebrate with teachers their birth day parties. They can also organize for sporting activities for the teachers once in a while. This gives the working environment the fun it desires. It helps teachers in releasing their stress, and binds them together as a staff. There should be no charges to teachers for such retreat activities. The teaching staff should also be given the chance to select where they wish to retreat. Choosing a place for the teachers may not meet the goal of motivating them.

Providing free housing for the teachers

The distance that teachers walk to get to work is crucial to the teaching career. This is because it determines how long the teacher may be willing to spent on duty. Teachers who stay within the school compound feel secure to stay on duty up to late. These teachers can also arrive on work early enough. Rent and transport costs are a stubborn issue for several teachers. If the school administration helps teachers in cutting down on this costs, it motivates them to work hard. Providing housing for teachers within the school compound motivates them to work for longer hours. Cutting on their expenses helps them to appreciate that the school cares for their well being. This is because the school meets part of the basic needs for the teachers. Such employees feel a sense of belonging. They may be willing to be under the employer for some time.

Giving teachers an assurance for their career growth

Employees in organizations always require the assurance that they will move up the ladder in their career. The basis for promotion can either be performance or seniority. Promotion goes hand in hand with pay increases and additional supervisory roles. When employees get new titles as a result of promotion, they fulfill the ego in them. If principals want teachers to work hard, they should base promotion on performance and not seniority. Basing promotion on the number of years a teacher has been in the school does not motivate employees. Seniority should be a compliment to performance while making promotion decisions. When teachers understand that their performance will lead in to a promotion, they will put in their best. Some responsibilities may include promoting teachers to become heads of departments, deputy principals, principals among other supervisory roles. Some of these promotions may go hand in hand with transfers.

Educating teacher’s children in the school free of charge

As teachers work hard to ensure that the school is performing well, their students should learn free of charge. School fees cost parents a large proportion of their income. When the school administration helps teachers in educating their children, they will acquire an inner drive to work. As the teacher works hard to meet the set targets, his children get free education. Once the teachers realize that the burden of school is off their shoulders, they will give their best in return. If the schools fail, the teacher’s students will be among the failures. Instead of teachers taking their children where they will pay school fees, they will choose to make their schools perform well. The teacher becomes part of the success of the school as a teacher and a parent. Educating the children of teachers motivates them to work hard.

Teacher for the month

This is an excellent form of motivation that schools can use to reward the unique contribution of teachers. This approach should not reward academic performers only. It should look out for teachers who do unique things or the same things in a different way. The contribution of such teachers should be of value to the school. Teachers who come up with a new approach to teaching can be given the award. This may also include the teachers who introduce new and effective disciplinary measures in the school. All students, teachers and the non teaching staff should assist in coming up with teachers worth the reward. They should propose a number of names and the most outstanding one should receive the reward.

This should be a form of rewarding innovation and creativity in teachers. The school should come up with a trophy for rewarding the successful teacher. The trophy should come along with other rewards like some money awards, reserved parking space clearly labeled “Teacher for the month”, a free pass just to name a few. The teacher can defend the reward if he continues to show outstanding performance. The teacher who wins the reward the highest number of times should be given the crown of teacher for the year. This should come along with other extrinsic rewards like promotions, cash packages among other gifts. This will motivate teachers to be innovative and creative. This is because of the rewards that come along with their effort.

Intrinsic motivators for teachers

Offering teachers with the certificate of excellent performance

Awarding certificates for excellent performance is critical in motivating teachers. The certificates are vital in developing one’s teacher career. This is because they may use them while attending promotion interviews internally or externally. Performance certificates help in boosting the ego of the teachers. Many of them will end up working hard so as to gather a number of certificates. This reward does not have a direct monetary attachment. Certificates boost the inner drive of employees to work hard. In the long run, these certificates may result to promotion of the teachers. The certificates can also be internal to the schools. Teachers with the most disciplined classes and most improved students should also receive such certificates.

Providing teachers with a conducive working environment

The working environment determines the attitude of employees towards work. Employees work well when they receive sufficient support from the organization. Employees should receive sufficient support from the organization. Supervisors should also be friendly to all their subordinates. They should consider themselves as servants and not masters. This makes the employees feel that the organization values them. It develops an inner drive that makes employees work hard. This approach is useful in motivating teachers. The school administration should ensure that they supply teachers with teaching aids on time. Teachers should get pens, chalks, dusters, text books and writing material on time. This improves their efficiency and develops their inner drive to work hard. The supervisors in schools should also be friendly to their subordinates. They should treat them as friends and always be ready to listen to them. Once teachers are comfortable on duty, the motivation to work will just come naturally.

Giving teachers’ commendation letters

Sometimes it is vital to appreciate the efforts of teachers for the entire year. At the end of every year, principals should write commendation letters to their teaching staffs to thank them for the hard work throughout the year. The words “thank you” has a lot of meaning in appreciating the effort of employees. School heads should put these words in writing as they communicate their end of year message to teachers. They should also show the willingness to continue working with the teachers in the coming year. The commendation letter should address the teachers at a personal level. This helps them in realizing their importance. Teachers will receive motivation to work hard once they realize their relevance. If people do not receive some form of appreciation for what they do, they may not see the need to work. Some scholars argue that kind words are powerful than monetary rewards.

Sending welcome cards to teachers

Giving teachers welcome cards after long holidays is a vital form of motivation. This makes them realize that they are coming back to a family where they belong. The aim of the welcome cards is to officially welcome teachers after the long holiday. The welcome card should appreciate the teachers for their past performance. It should also show a willingness of the administration to support teachers in achieving their goals. The welcome cards should be attractive and appealing to the eyes. This will make teachers be able to read them every now and then.

Inviting motivational speakers to address the teachers

Most people believe that the teaching profession is for the average people in the society. However, teachers are vital in community development. All professional around the world are products of teachers. People like presidents, doctors, pilots, and professors just to name a few pass through the hands of teachers. The school administration should be inviting motivation speakers to address teachers. They should tell them of their role in society. This will help teachers not to look down upon themselves. When teachers realize that they are special, they will have an inner drive to work hard.

Involving teachers in the decision making process for the school

Decision making is a process that occurs in all organizations. The best way to make this process successful is by involving all the stake holders. This makes them realize that the organization appreciates their presence. The best way to motivate teachers is involving them in decision making. They feel part of the decisions and hence you can not force them to implement the decisions. They have a sense of belonging that drives them to implement the governing rules. The best way to motivate teachers is by involving them in the process of institutional decision making.


This essay is on the topic of how to motivate teachers. Motivation is vital in organizational performance. There is no organization that can achieve its goals without motivating employees. Teachers require motivation for them to record excellent results. The essay addresses the history of motivation. The essay goes ahead to focus on motivation theories that are applicable in motivating teachers. The last thing the essay handles is the intrinsic and extrinsic forms of motivation. Both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is vital in motivating teachers. The school administration should use the resources they have to motivate their teachers. This will enhance the commitment of teachers and improve on performance. In the long run, the schools will record high enrollments.


  1. Ali, R. & Ahmed, M. (2003). The impact of reward and recognition programs on employee’s motivation and satisfaction. Mason: Cengege learning
  2. Hafiza, N.S., Shah, S.S., Jamsheed, H., & Zaman, K. (2011). Relationship between rewards and employee’s motivation in the nonprofit organizations of Pakistan: Sage publications Ltd
  3. Stolovitch, H. D., Clark. R.E., & Condly, S.J. (2011). Incentives, motivation work place and performance: Research and best practices. London: Cengege learning
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