One of my clients teaches at a community college and he is always complaining about the incompetence of his students. According to him, they can’t do simple math and they can’t follow simple directions, no matter how often they hear them or read them. Most of them have jobs, not careers, and they aren’t making a lot of money.
He has told me often enough that his students don’t do their homework, they couldn’t care less about the machines they are being trained on, and they are there because it’s a required course, or their employer wants them to get more training.
As we were talking, it occurred to me that since he teaches a technical subject, and since there is such a high demand for well-trained workers in his field, and not enough well-trained employees, my client has a decided advantage.
We are all aware that there is a shrinking job market in this country and that college graduates start out with enormous student loans that have to be repaid six months after graduation, whether or not they get the job they expected or wanted. But the technical/vocational job sector is different in that there is a high demand for qualified workers and an alarming shortage of them.
My thinking was that money can be a great motivator, in and out of the classroom. As such, at the beginning of the semester I would start out by telling the students what the pay scale is in his field and how, if they do well in his class, they will be able to qualify for good-paying jobs as soon as they graduate. A few weeks later, I would remind them of that.
It also doesn’t hurt to give praise where it’s due. A little recognition for one’s efforts goes a long way. You may not be able to praise their work but maybe if you praise their efforts, they would try harder.
If I were to take a guess, I’d say that praise and recognition are often better motivators than money but, usually, where one goes, the other isn’t far behind.