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Student Say: What really motivates you to learn?

Students–both past and present, please join this month’s Student Say conversation post by discussing the question: What really motivates you to learn?

Welcome, students!  Your words matter.  Please join the conversation.  Though you are young and may not feel you have a voice or you can make a difference, you are the most important voice of all, for it is truly all about you, and you have to help change the narrative and believe that you can help move the needle and change education.  Your words matter.

Note on comments.  Please post honest, open comments.  We have to have real conversations to make any kind of significant change, even if those conversations are tough.  But, please do not post comments that are degrading and/or defamatory to any individuals.  I will not be able to approve them, and unfortunately, your voice will not be heard.


86 Replies to “Student Say: What really motivates you to learn?”

  • Teachers that encourage me and supports me in the things I do not only inside of school but outside. When they communicate with me that they understand that high schoolers have an outside life whether that be running start classes, sports, honnors classes, ect. When they understand that their class is not our life. When teachers really try to connect with kids and not just teach them. In following of that, it makes me have more respect for the teachers and actually enjoy learning from them. I really appreciate it when the teachers heard about my race or even went to watch and congratulate me on my success, considering that cross country and a lot of other sports get very minimum recognition. Although, this year I feel was the most supportive from the students and definitely shows that we have school spirit and support sports that aren’t our own. I still feel like the support from the teachers aren’t as strong as I believe it can be. If it was I feel I would have more success in and out of school. Also when people believe in me, especially role models like teachers, motivates me to do the best I possibly could be. My favorite year of school was my 7th grade year because I had a fantastic support group. I had my best cross country season ever and had spot on grades. I don’t ever remember being bummed about a big problem in life either because I was just enjoying life. I hope to get those things from that year and repeat them these next years to have an successful high school career. I apologize for the randomness of this comment. Out of this whole entire paragraph, what motivates me most is people who support me and believe in me.

  • Now a days not much motivates me to learn(at school) simply because I know that a piece of paper controls my entire future. Its tiring and stressful. At school, more specifically high school, I’m not motivated to learn for the sake of learning anymore. What’s the point of learning if you aren’t interested? Its more so, I’m forced to learn the stuff they teach me because without it I would go no where in life. Which I guess answers the question, I’m motivated to learn for capitalistic purposes and so I better my future and family. But not necessarily for myself anymore. Not for learning sake and pure curiosity.

  • What really motivates me to learn is topics that I have a genuine interest in. For example, learning about mitosis/meiosis in Biology didn’t exactly interest me. However, learning about engineering/graphic design/languages, does interest me. Certain teachers grade really hard, then causes more stress to students, which ends up making them unmotivated/less willing to do work.

  • What motivates me to learn is so that I am successful in life and I can go on to bigger and better things. While I’m not yet sure what I want to do with my life, I just hope that I will be successful with my life and make my family proud.

  • what motivates me to learn is my future ,my career, and my parents. I know when i am out of school i will need to attend collage and further my education so why not start now! when i am interested in a subject we are learning in class i get more interested and a good teacher.

  • What motivates me to learn my dear, dear, Mr. Syrie? I am motivated by my goals and hopes to become a successful person in this great country I call home.
    If you just take a second to think about how much learning affects you, you will realize how much you need to learn in order to have success. #RiceCube$

  • Due dates motivate me. I’m not a procrastinator, but I don’t like work piling up. So, the due dates give me a set standard of when something needs to be done. A little bit of fun helps too. Mr. Arensmeyer slips jokes into his lessons and makes us laugh. Fun helps us look forward to the class and more excited to engage and do the work.

  • Something that motivates me to learn is making the lesson really fun and bring jokes into it. I honestly love when teachers joke around with students. It makes the lesson fun and not boring/sleep worthy. Playing games that brings the lesson into it, is fun and helps us learn without us realizing it until we test on it.

  • I don’t exactly know what motivates me. I don’t really enjoy school too much in the first place, so I guess my main motivation is the fact that if I just get through these next few years, I’ll be able to get out and live my own life instead of having nothing to do and being locked up in my house. When I get out of high school I know I won’t have to be forced to be around people that emotionally pull me down and I’ll get to do what makes me happy in life, so I guess that’s what motivates me to get through the day. Or learn. But you know.

  • The fact that I want to graduate high school, and get out of this place really motivates me to learn and get good grades so I can achieve the goal above.

  • I am motivated by my own personal career goals and what I want out of life, and good grades are a must in the competitive path i have chosen for myself.

  • I’m motivated to learn when I can easily see how the material will help me specifically. Also, to learn and get a lot out of a class I have to have respect for the teacher. Not large work loads. Large workloads make me more apt to just rushing through and not actually learning it. And when I am genuinely interested in a subject I’m more interested in what is happening and what I’m learning.

  • I’m motivated to learn when I know that whenever I am learning will have positive effects on my life in the future. I am motivated by short term and long term consequences, be it achieving positive goals or avoiding negative results. I am also motivated by things that I find genuinely interesting or am passionate about. Although, I do believe that with the right teacher, I can find anything interesting. Before this year, I have never truly enjoyed learning about history. This year, in my AP world history class, I have grown to love history and have found a deeper meaning in it than previously. I am also extremely motivated to learn about the subject because my teacher takes his genuine interest in the topic an shares his passion for it with us. This brings me to the last major thing that motivates me. When I see other people take a genuine interest or have a passion in something, it makes me curious and strive to share their interest. Overall, I find it fairly easy to become motivated to learn.

  • Most of the time its just a general interest in the topic but when we are getting lectured about something it’s pretty boring… I think like playing different types of trivia games or something like that but mostly its the things that we get to do with the good grades 😀

  • I am motivated to learn because I have to keep my grades up to stay on the cheerleading squad and i also dont want to disappoint my parents. My most important motivator is trying to have a good job in the future though. l am also motivated if I am interested in the topic it will make me feel better knowing more about it. I am not really motivated to learn when the topic is boring and/or I am tired or having a bad day.

  • What motivates me to learn is the job I want to do after high school. It’s extremely math and science based. If I don’t pass my classes and learn what I need, then I will really struggle with achieving what I want to become. If I don’t make it, well, that’d be pretty devastating. A high GPA is also required for the school I’ll need to go to. That gives me the motivation for my other classes.

  • In order to find out what motivates us, we must first take a step back and realize what motivation is. Motivation is a major key to success thats what #djkhaled.

    I am motivated to learn by my future goals and by my family. I want to succeed in life for myself and for my parents, and to do that i need a good, long-lasting education.

  • I’m motivated to learn by the fact that I don”t want to be stuck working at a fast food place my whole life and I want to go places

  • What motivates me to learn is not only the knowledge gained, but the individualism that arises inside, to show that as you learn things in history, language arts, etc., you also learn things about yourself.

  • what motivates me to learn? I have many things that motivate me but one inparticular my family motivates me they are the ones who were there in the begining and they will be the ones to be there in the end.

  • I believe that when I am passionate about what I am learning about, then I will be completely motivated to learn. In general, I am always motivated to learn because I want to succeed. But, if a teacher expects full motivation, then I have to be truly interested about the subject.

  • What i find that motivates me to learn is my parents because they are always pushing me to get good grades and do good in school. Also, coffee motivates me as well to stay awake in classes and focus. Another thing that motivates me as a student is when i understand what the teachers are teaching because it makes me want to keep trying and pushing myself.

  • Sometimes, if I’m actually interested in something, I motivate myself to learn. But most of the time, I just want to understand the information for the next test. Teachers have told me over and over that if I understand the content my grades will follow, but I’ve found over and over again that that’s only the case for tests, projects don’t really stick to that script. Sometimes I’m motivated because what i’m learning is actually useful. For example, Physics, Vocab, Algebra, and Grammar are things that’ll actually be useful to me a year from now. Even the kind of Useless things are useful when I think about it. I may forget algebra in a year, but your brain benefits from it, and it helps you to learn things in the future.

  • at school, not even about school work, when teachers get kids more involved with things like spirit week and any activities make me want to get more involved in school socially and educationally

  • An enthusiastic and active teacher motivates me. If I have a teacher who simply gives an assignment or a project just to keep me busy that night or review something we’ve gone over already I am extremely unmotivated. If they don’t care…why should I care? Teachers who explain what this assignment will help me with in the real world and seem to enjoy teaching are much more pleasant to learn from. When I have a teacher who is excited and is motivated to help me learn, I am motivated to learn. Motivation is a two-way street.

  • My parents motivate me the most to learn and I motivate myself a lot because I know my potential. Coffee motivates me too by keeping me awake. 😀

  • what motivates me to learn is if i have a good teacher and if im around people that are also motivated to learn thats a reason why im in honors.

  • A good teacher and an interesting subject motivates me to learn. A subject that is boring, or a teacher that isn’t very good at teaching what they teach, does not motivate me to learn because if they’re not good at teaching, how am I supposed to be good at learning.

  • Nothing motivates me to learn, but I do see a benefit from learning and that hopefully is much wealth. What doesn’t motivate me to learn is that school is the law and very few of our classes are of our choosing. When things are mandatory, I strongly dislike them and I wouldn’t do it for my own good if I had my own choice.

  • What motivates me to learn?
    that’s a bit of a tough question that can be asked in many ways. I love to learn because i’ve always enjoyed knowing how things work, or how to do them. You can do more when you know more things. For me it’s not money, or passing high school. those aren’t what strive me. Only reason i try super hard in high school is ’cause i do want to get far in life, but for the classes i like. i pay attention because i want to know. I push my self to learn more in drama due to i want to be an actor, but if it gets down to it. i do it ’cause i want to. i enjoy knowing. i enjoy learning.

  • What motivates me to learn is goals in life. I really want be successful and have a future that I’m content with. And in order to do that I have to maintain good grades. Also my friends and family really do push me to do my best. I want to go to college and have a good job and life.

  • The thing that motivates me is probably having a fun twist to the thing that i am learning. Some teachers can drag on the topic or give loads of assignments and tests and all that. Not dragging on and maybe turning it into a fun game helps me with assignments and helps me remember things for the tests.

  • What motivates me to learn? What motivates me to learn is getting good grades, hands on projects, and also independent learning projects. My good grades are a must because of what i want to be in the future.

  • I find it hard to be motivated in school. Always have, always will. The only time I get anything done is if I have music or some kind of incentive like extra credit.

  • What motivates me to learn is being personally challenged, and having a good teacher, who is willing to take the time to answer questions, but isn’t over explanatory. I also like when teachers take a new/fun/loud/passionate approach to teaching. A great example of this kind of teacher is Mr. Arensmeyer, our world history teacher (even though his class is very hard and a lot of work). He has a way of engaging the the students in his lesson and a way to make history actually seem fun (which is a miracle in itself). I think if teachers try to apply themselves as best they can they will definitely have my attention and my participation.

  • I get motivated in lots of ways! My best motivation comes from genuine interest, or simply wanting to do my best. I also respond to negative motivation. For example, being told “You can’t do that” or “that’s too hard”, will instantly trigger the response, “Watch me, I’ll prove you wrong.”
    Personally, I think the best type of motivation is interest, it doesn’t feel like work when I’m enjoying what I’m doing. Not only is it rewarding for accomplishing the task, but also rewarding because I am doing something I love.

  • Every person has a reason for things they do, whether its as simple as eating or running, there is always a back story or reasoning. I am a very motivated in school because i know the outcome and positive consequences, but you can’t make someone love something they don’t. Instead of forcing the stereotypical way of life down their throat, show them why they should care. Give them goals and reward them, letting them know that natural smarts don’t matter. Dedication and hard work is tough but if you have the right mind set, you can truly do anything.

  • I believe that motivation to learn involves interest. You usually don’t want to learn something if is boring, or repetitive. The more interesting and fun learning is to me is when i’m most motivated to learn that specific subject or thing. Specifically for me, not only is it the interest but also the amount of time I spend on it. Anything that is time consuming makes me less motivated. That being said, having to take a class that doesn’t interest me, taking the time away from something I would have rather learned and remembered, is pointless.

  • What motivates me to learn is my parents and grades because I think doing well in school will help the future although doing well in school may not always be that easy.

  • I think a thing that motivates people is how the learning is presented. If you present something, even something fairly boring, in an interesting way people will be engaged and want to learn. Also if a teacher tries to motivate people through the fear of consequences (bad grades, some kind of punishment) I think people are less motivated and the teacher ends up being seen as the bad guy or like some great evil (Eye of Sauron style). But if teachers try to motivate them by building a positive relationship with their students the students will want to learn (like Obi-Wan or Gandalf except less mysterious and usually less bearded, but if you had a Gandalf beard I would definitely want to learn from them on the off chance I would actually be learning from Gandalf because that would be flipping amazing.)

  • What motivates me to learn? Well, to be honest I don’t know. Maybe it’s just so I have something to do. I come to school so I’m not bored even though I’m bored most of the time. I think another reason is because I feel the need to meet the standards that people have for me. If I don’t have good grades, people judge. I don’t come to school, people judge. I fail a test, people judge. People have said,”You’re so smart, why don’t you have a 4.0 GPA?” Maybe, its because you all push me to do so much and learn more and more that I don’t care anymore. JS

  • I am motivated to learn about my interests and passions. Classical music, archery, fishing, hunting, and engineering are things that I love. I truly enjoy reading, researching, and being taught about these subjects. For topics that are not entirely thrilling, I force myself to study them anyways because I know it will push me towards success.

  • Using technology. More doing, less sitting and listening. Being able to take classes because I want to take them not because i need to take them for credits. Being forced to take classes doesn’t motivate me to learn. In the classes i’m forced to take i’m not learning, i’m memorizing things for a test that i will immediately forget once i’m done being tested on them.

  • What motivates me is the fact that every single day is one day closer to the end of our high school experience. Ever choice I’ll make will alter my opinions, and views. It could change my opportunities given to me now and in the future. Everyday, we are one step closer to adulthood where for once in our life we have no safety net. We make our own choices, and pay our own rent. For once were are supposed to be treated like an adult.

  • I am motivated to learn when the subject is new and of interest to me, instead of something that has been reviewed many times before or is being taught in a similar fashion in another class. What does not motivate me is a demanding workload, because then I am just pushing through to get everything done instead of actually analyzing and thinking about the material. For example, right now I am thinking about metric conversions and lab reports, not what motivates me.

  • I am motivated by my parents, teachers, and also my friends. I’m also motivated to achieve many things in the long run, to accomplish this I will need to get good grades, so that I can get into a good college.

  • I am motivated mostly because of my goal to do well in the future but what ruins my motivation is teachers that do not care about actually teaching and having students learn. The teachers who tell you what it is that you are doing but do not check for your understanding before making you try to do the work. If a teacher is motivated to help the kids actually comprehend what they are doing, the students, including myself, will be more motivated to learn.

  • I am motivated to learn because if I get bad grades then I wouldn’t get into collage and make minimum wage forever.

  • I am most motivated to learn when I can tell the teacher is thoroughly, and strongly passionate about what they’re teaching. I have had so many classes where the teacher seems as, if not more, uninterested as the students. It’s so much more motivating to learn when you can see the passion and excitement anyone, not just teachers, has about anything.

  • I am not sure for what motivates me to learn, but i know for sure what doesn’t motivate me. Having a large punishment for not doing work will only spark my competitive side and I tend to think, “you think you can tell me what to do? Alright, lets see who will hold out longer”, and most of the time I do lose; however, I do not give out until I know that you come out tired and frustrated from the battle. I don’t really know how many others work like that but I sure do! I don’t know what would help to change that but you asked so I anwsered with my opinion.

  • As a student, what motivates me to learn would either be where I set a goal for myself-like going to a certain college, taking specific classes for what I want to do as a career or even as simple as a grade on a semester test- or looking at others success in that particular subject.

  • What motivates me to learn is wanting to get good grades. I want to not limit my options in after high school education and my career, so good grades are the way to achieve that.

  • What motivates me to learn is a teacher who is motivated to teach the class and very enthusiastic about the subject they teach.

  • I think as a student, my motivation to learn comes from solely wanting to do well in life, but as an individual I just like to know more. Even as a kid, I’ve always been someone who would research random things while bored just because they seemed a tad bit interesting. Life wise though, wanting to do well and not having any kinds of restrictions, plus the fact that I could take pride in knowing I had good grades and did well in school is always something I thought would be pretty cool.

  • The thing that motivates me to learn is knowing that the things I do today and within the next couple years will help me be able to have super neat experiences in the future. Having a good teacher that is patient and teaches well is helpful and motivates me. I love learning real things that will apply to my future, for an example I thoroughly enjoy my french class and learning another language. It’s really cool to think that there is a whole other part of the world that speaks that language.

  • I am motivated to learn because if I have bad grades my parents wont let me do fun stuff like sports or hangout with friends.

  • I get motivated when there’s a goal for me to reach that i’m actually interested in. When i think the process is actually purposeful and when i want to get the end result. Even when i’m not totally interested in the topic if i think its important i’m more motivated. I feel like we get too many things to do sometimes it seems like busy work and when i’m spread so thin i lose all motivation to learn and only get it done to get it done and get the grade. Typically my only motivation in school is having a decent future. The only other thing that can change it other than my own interest is my teacher and how much they get through to us and make me care.

  • As a student, what motivates me the most is the idea of success, knowing that if i try my hardest the outcome will satisfy me. Good things come to people who wait, but better things come to those who go out and get them.

  • Throughout my years of schooling I have had many great teachers, also many teachers who make me not wanna do any work. I have noticed pretty much why. Students can tell if a teacher really doesn’t care, and also can tell if a teacher cares. I testify that I learn better and care more about my work when a teacher is always caring.

  • What motivates me the most is when I have a wide range of options to choose from when I’m doing projects and presentations. I also like to have to have the option to work independently at my own pace because most of my motivation comes from myself.

  • I find it really hard to be motivated in school at all. The only time that I am motivated is when I feel like it is a benefit. After school is over for all of us, we will not know how to vote, to pay rent, or any other daily things that we see our parents do. But we will all know the quadratic equation. I will feel more motivated if we try and apply our learning to real life more often. I want to know how my learning in school will help me later in life. If I feel like what we learning in class does not benefit me in any way, I will probably space out and won’t take anything from the lesson.

    • I believe the same. There are so many things going on in the world that people do every day and in school we just wont learn. When we ask for more real life learning not word problems in math like “you are diving at 75 miles per hour and someone else is driving at 35 miles per hour when will you meet in the center?” that is nice to know but I, as well, would much rather spend time learning how to do taxes then have to spend money on someone else with the job I don’t know how to get.

  • When I am interesting in doing something, obviously I am more motivated to do it. Assignments that seem like busy work don’t motivate me at all. I just think in those cases: “What is the point of this?” The more a topic interests me, the greater the chance that I will try and not just go through the motions. I really appreciate it when teachers try to work with me, not against me, and they seem interested in what we’re learning as well.

    The more work I have the less motivated I am to do it. Honestly, who wants to go to school all day and then have a couple hours of homework? Fun? No.

  • A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others, but really I’m not very motivated other than by fear of a miserable future.

  • I am motivated to learn. I am motivated by my teachers, friends, and family. Every year we come back to the same place to learn about our world. The motivation I have comes from my morals and how I was raised, wanting to be the best I can be drives my passion to learn. Motivation is different for everyone around the world the drive each of feels stems from different places.

  • Being a student can be difficult and its sometimes hard to get the motivation you need to learn. Something what motivates me to learn is when i feel like i haven’t learned something in a while i will want to go out and learn new things. I don’t have many motivators in my life but one of my more stronger ones is college.
    College is critical because you have to have certain requirements and so many accomplishments that it motivates me to learn and motivates me to accomplish my goals.

  • I, as a student, find it hard to get motivated if the teacher isn’t motivated themselves. If teachers are grouchy and not excited to teach their students, it’s hard to get the students interested in what is being taught and they just lose the motivating to learn. Doing fun activities and not just reading out of a book keeps most students on board and wanting to learn, but that could just be me. Another factor would be grades. Getting good grades and striving for the 4.0 that I want each year to get into a good college keeps me motivated to come to school, learn, and get things done. Getting motivated in school is a hard thing to do, but, it’s not impossible.

  • I’m motivated to learn because I strive for a good future for myself. I love going above and beyond in whatever I do. I enjoy any type of situation to gain knowledge. It may sound nerdy but I personally love learning and I see it helping me in the future. The main point is, I am motivated by learning because L enjoy it and it will also help me in the long run.

  • One thing that motivates me is when the teacher is actually interested in what they are talking about. When they are having fun with what they are talking about, it gets me excited about the topic as well. When I am excited about whatever it is the teacher is talking about, then yes I am motivated by it. If the teacher starts talking like the teachers in Charlie Brown, that’s when I’m ready to go home. I will still do the assignment, but only because I have to, not because I want to, or am motivated to.

  • I am motivated by not only my teachers, but my classmates as well! When they are interested in a topic or lesson, I become focused and motivated as well. Something else that motivates me is an interesting assignment or lesson. I enjoy lessons that get me involved and excited to learn.

  • I am motivated to learn! I am motivated to learn by my friends, family,teachers,and adventures in life. I personally learn way better when the teacher is super entergetic and open about stuff. I like being excited about what i am learning about. I learn way better when i am interested in it. I don’t learn very well when i am not interested in it

  • What motivates me to learn is thinking about the future. My future depends on how hard I work and how serious I take my education. If I don’t take my education seriously than no one in the future will take me seriously either.

  • What motivates me? High school has proved to me that not much motivates me. Lots of teachers don’t understand the stress that i go through trying to pass their classes while doing things that i want to do. It doesn’t motivate me when people think i’m not trying even when i’m trying my hardest. Although it is stressful, some teachers are very helpful and understanding about what i’m going through and they help me in anyway they can and that’s what motivates me. My friends and family who believe in me are what motivates me to continue to try my best.

  • I find it a bit on the difficult side to be motivated in school when I really got little to get from school in my line of what i really want to do in my life. Honestly school is just a thing to kinda do with my time so i ain’t bored.

  • What motivates me is when a class is made enjoyable by a teacher who is not only willing to change something about their lesson to better help a student in need, but also keeps everyone engaged and having fun. If a class is unenjoyable, students are less likely to participate and learn. A student is only as great as the one who taught them.

  • For me, a dedicated teacher that I respect makes it MUCH easier to put time into a subject. Whether the teacher cares or not sort of reflects how much I care about the subject. Ms. Ruddock, is one of the best teachers I’ve ever had because she’s so passionate about what she teaches, it’s always exciting to learn. It makes it easier as a student to get engaged in the lesson.

  • As a student, the thing that motivates me most is a good teacher. I know a “good” teacher is a somewhat broad term, but I’ve been lucky to get mostly “good” teachers throughout my education. A “good” teacher motivates you. If they don’t motivate you then how can they be a good teacher? That personally motivates me the most.

    • Before I read your post Finn, and only read the question, I was thinking the same thing! I have to have a passionate teacher who wants ALL their students to succeed. If I know my teacher is willing to work to make sure I understand and grasp concepts then I’m willing to work too. It has to be an equal force of work on both ends.

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