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Ever wish your students were more motivated? If you’re like most of us, you have tried an array of rewards and punishments to motivate kids. There’s only one problem: it doesn’t work. At least it doesn't work well enough. People (yes, even students) aren’t motivated from the outside so rewards and punishments only work to a point. We are internally motivated. That’s why it's essential to engage and inspire students to be motivated to succeed in school (and life.)

If you’re ready to move beyond the reward/punishment model and embrace a whole new way to understand motivation, I encourage you to come back regularly. It’s time to challenge the status quo and create schools and classrooms based on what really motivates behavior.

Friday, March 8, 2013

What’s The Cost of Feeling Safe In School?

suggests that nearly three-fourths of teachers would not carry a gun in school even if they were allowed to. But “Almost 90% said an armed police officer would improve safety in their schools, not make them less safe, according to the survey.” I initially thought this meant teachers wanted armed police officers in school, especially since the title of the article includes the words “do support armed guards.” But the CNN author of the article made a connection that might not be completely accurate.

The article was based on the results of a January online survey conducted by School Improvement Network. While I did not see the survey, I know that the wording of the questions would be important. If I were simply asked, “Would you feel safer if there were an armed police officer in your school?” I might say “yes.” If I were asked, “Do you want an armed police officer in your school?” my answer may very well be “no.” Those seemingly contradictory answers are consistent with the vast majority of teachers saying they wouldn’t carry a gun in school even if they were allowed to but would feel safer knowing there was an armed police officer at the school. Just because I'd feel safer doesn't necessarily mean I want to go there.

When we imagine an armed assailant entering our schools, it’s comforting to tell ourselves that having an armed police officer on site would lessen the carnage. (I’m not sure it really would increase safety, but I understand why anyone would like to believe it would.) This brings up another question: do we want guns in our schools?

I am the father of three adult children. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to send my kids every day to a place so potentially dangerous they I felt the need to have an armed police officer there so children can learn to read, write, calculate, and develop social skills. The thought that we have arrived at the point where we need to engage in conversations like this is unimaginably distressing.

I’m not taking sides on this issue. I'd like to say that guns have no place in our schools, even guns in the hands of trained police officers. But my kids are grown up. I’m not sure what I’d say if they were still in school. I certainly appreciate those who have a different opinion and whose circumstances are far different from mine. The only thing I know with certainty is this: I am profoundly sad that we have arrived at this point.


As always, if you enjoyed this and found it useful, please send the link to your friends. Thanks.

Bob Sullo

For information about books by Bob Sullo and to schedule a keynote, workshop, or series for your school, agency, or parent group visit

Don't forget to get your copy of the revised edition of The Inspiring Teacher: Making A Positive Difference In Students' Lives.

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