Teacher Series: Keeping Students Motivated


This episode with teacher Vicky Tucker is part of our new Teacher series, designed to help teachers share their most effective methods and strategies.

Vicky Tucker is a master at helping children learn by understanding their motivation. You will love her fun ideas for getting high school students motivated in the classroom.

What did you wish you knew before you started teaching?

Taking early education programs, we learned about the facts of behavior but not real application for how that applies in the classroom. I spent a lot of time googling child development theorists to understand how things work in each grade level and how to understand where each grade was at developmentally.

Did the things you looked up online help you?

One of the things that frustrated me going from middle school to high school was that these students were developing personally and at the middle school level they still needed a lot of structure.

Too many options was overwhelming, I had to learn to structure my lessons and expectations. I had to let go of some of the open ways of looking at assignments because they weren’t ready for that.

What are some of the best practices that you have put into place as a teacher?

There are a couple of things. Teaching AVID helps you see how other teachers are teaching across other disciplines. That’s when I started to see some policies that hurt kids. I am pro-positive reinforcement and only uses punitive measures as a backup plan.

I have a monetary system where I give kids “Tucker dollars” for doing anything extra. When they volunteer or do anything extra it helps them to be motivated.

The dollars are used for extra credit on homework, but not big-ticket assignments. Charging phones in her classroom costs Tucker dollars. I use them to get out o