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Unusual Motivation of Inner City Kids

Title – Unusual Motivation of Inner City Kids

By – Debbie

All kids need to be motivated to learn. The motivation depends on their personal backgrounds and values. Some kids have to be tricked into learning. I took the challenge to teach inner city kids in high school for the past ten years. The first couple of years, I felt as though I was banging my head against a wall. Nobody cared about learning. A lot of anger was built up by their less privileged lives. When I left school on my first day of teaching in the inner city, I found my car with slashed tires. I was still determined not to give up. The next week, my car was covered with incredibly sticky eggs that would not come off. This type of behavior was common and expected. Then one day, I decided to harness their anger to motivate the kids. I made a deal that if everyone in the class ended the semester with an 80% average or better, then I would allow them to egg my car all they wanted to one day. If the class scored a 90% or better, they could slash its tires until they turned into rubber bands. The kids took the challenge and left my car alone for the whole semester. They studied hard and helped each other to learn. The girls in the class were especially excited to “kill” my car with style! They talked about this the whole semester while I watched them expand their minds to boot. The last day came, and to my excitement, every student averaged above 90% for the semester. Then the kids pulled out twelve boxes of extra large eggs. They showed how the expiration on the egg cartons were two months old and VERY ROTTEN! I felt sinking feeling deep in the pit of my stomach as the kids ran out to my car. My old Sentra had blown up a month ago, and I had to replace it with a new black sporty Camaro. Ten minutes later, the car was completely covered with eggs, and the aluminum wheels were sitting on the pavement. The tires literally looked like rubber bands! It was worth it. The kids learned, and I only had my car vandalized twice a year. I’ve made this bet for the past ten years with no regrets and 100% success. The moral of the story is that you must find what motivates the students at all cost. As a side note, I still drive my Camaro, and I was never able to fully clean the eggs off. It’s a reminder of their success. I hope this story encourages other teachers to think outside the box.



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