jfg wrote:The motivation should be the love of teaching and educating children. If it is a performance based system all you'll see is teachers who somehow couldn't get motivated to teach kids finding loopholes and teach to the book to get those rewards. Principals and superintendents will put mandates on teachers to teach a certain way to bring test scores up. You already see that with standardized testing. In the end, good teachers will become mediocre, some bad teachers will still be bad and the others will be able to teach by the book to get scores up. Rewards do nothing, just like in any other job motivation comes from your love of the profession.
I think you're touching on a bigger problem beyond the scope of the education system. Kids are already immersed in a fierce, performance-driven environment in which they're held by higher standards and by goals that they might not even want to aspire to (i.e. admission to Ivy League school). The kids internalize those expectations/goals set by their parents and a more than fair share of them are more concerned about keeping a letter-perfect academic/extracurricular record that they often lose sight of the learning experience. The pressure then is turned on to educators to gear those kids into being prepared for the SAT, AP tests, etc. because if they didn't try to orient their curriculum to address those needs, they would lose potential enrollees if they didn't.
Holding teachers to high performance standards without being intrusive to the way they present the material is the ideal situation. Ensure that all teachers in the department teach what's covered in the syllabus, but give them some say in the way the material is presented and the nature of the assignments. Unfortunately, that's just the case of easier said than done.
As for motivation/rewards, the fact of the matter is a lot of people don't enjoy what they do. That's not necessarily rooted in whether they love their profession or not. Some love what they do, but are frustrated by the work situation/environment they're in. Even a teacher who doesn't have a heart for the work can be good at what they do... whether it's getting results from the kids or really getting kids engaged in the subject, or both. It's also human instinct for us to want to get some kind of recognition in some way, shape, or form for what we put into the work. Fact is, they're all on the job for whatever reason they're in it for and should equally be held accountable for standards.