I’m going to begin today’s post with another college experience.
[Disclaimer: I do remember some great things about school, mainly the camaraderie and available educational resources but the negative experiences I had far outweighed the benefits. I chalk it up as being in the wrong school and not the school environment in general. I don’t want to make it seem as though I’m against the school system. Any good system can be broken.]
I specifically remember the first class I took with the chair of the department. This was a class where we would be presenting every week. In general, he had been fairly warm to the students who had presented. So when it came to my turn I was nervous but fairly confident. Outside of class I also felt like we had a pretty decent rapport developing.
My presentation came as a shock; I was caught off guard. He relentlessly peppered me with questions, often viciously pointing out the most minor, trivial details. I had no idea what was going on. I literally began to think he hated my guts. After my presentation was over (I didn’t even get through halfway) I felt crushed.
Later, a fellow student (already years into his degree and more experienced than me) could tell how bothered I was. So I was grateful to him when he took me aside and said it was the teacher’s way of showing he actually thought you had potential. He was basically tough on “good” students and very lenient and kind to “bad” students.
But this revelation didn’t make me feel any better. The only question that kept recurring in my mind was, “who on this green planet would feel motivated this way?” That was the PG-rated question.
There is a HUGE problem with this type of motivation. Not everyone likes it, especially me. More often than not, people hate it. [Actually, that’s not entirely true. On a football field? Probably. A class in front of my academic peers? Heck no.]
Treating another human being like this is utterly ridiculous and detrimental. How do you expect your brightest employees or students to work hard for you when you demean and embarrass them? Not all of us are masochists.
So I wasn’t “pumped” or “excited” to ace my next presentation. I was more tempted to see how fast I could make his head bounce off the wall.
Motivator? He was more like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Later that semester I saw him “motivate” another student the same way. The poor girl took it far worse than I did. In the back of my mind I sarcastically thought, “another student with ‘potential’ eh?”
De-motivation at its finest.
Unfortunately, this was a big factor that went into my decision to quit school. Did I really want to deal with this guy for the next few years? Not to mention he was in charge of the entire department! And if you’re in a similar situation, please don’t let monetary compensation or educational achievement be the end-all. I remember being hired for a group piano class with pretty good pay. Afterwards I quickly realized the coordinator who hired me was the same type of “motivator.” I happily quit after a month.
No amount of money or award is worth feeling that miserable.
You can’t treat people all the same because EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT. Every student is unique. In my piano studio I can’t teach everyone the same way. It just doesn’t work and it’s the same with motivation.
So how do we motivate the “right” way?
Stay tuned for my next post!