Monday, May 25, 2009

Am I Passionate About My Teaching?

In Passionization - (Part 2 of 4) from Angela Maiers Educational Services by Angela Maiers, she states,

“We are impacted by those who we spend time with. I am energized and motivated most when I am surrounded by passionate people. Even a single hour spent with those who live life as observers rather than participants, going through the motions without purpose and passion drain me physically, mentally, and emotionally…As an adult, I am fortunate that I get to chose who I spend my time with, choosing wisely to surround myself with those who are "alive and awake". Our students are not afforded this same luxury.”

After reading this I began to wonder if I was a passionate teacher. What did I do in order to keep my passion for teaching? Is this why so many teachers leave the field after a few years? Do they not do whatever it takes to keep the fires burning? Do I do whatever is necessary for this to happen?

I have tried to be around other teachers who love teaching. When I see them looking for new strategies or sharing their ideas, I know that I want to hear more from them. These are the teachers who will be great to go to when I need support. I also like to observe these teachers in the classroom because even the students can feel their positive energy. When I feel like I hit a mind road block, it is these teachers who seem to motivate me the most. Just being around these teachers, I can feel their passion flowing all around them and I know that I want to be just like that.

I love to go on Plurk and Twitter to connect with other educators who have a love of teaching. These educators are the ones who share links to great resources and ideas. It is so exciting to be told about an online seminar or live webcast that I can interact with others. Every Sunday morning I join the New Zealand/Australian teachers for a weekly meeting to exchange ideas and discuss certain topics.

I also listen to educational podcasts that can help motivate me. I might hear a topic or an idea that interests me. Then I try to decide how I can use this in my classroom. Constantly thinking and searching for new strategies in my classroom will help keep me on my toes. It also helps keep my teaching from becoming stagnant and boring. If I keep teaching the same things in the same ways over and over, I get bored with it and the students pick up on my feelings. Yet, if I am excited about something new, they will also pick up on that excitement too.

I love to see the “lightbulb” go on in a student’s head when he finally understands what I am teaching him. This is a big motivator to me and keeps me teaching. Helping my students become successful can really help me keep going when I’m feeling down. The trick is to keep trying to find a key that will work with each individual student. When we try to force a student’s success by using the same methods with all the students, we are setting ourselves up for failure. The more success they achieve, the more they want and this makes me want more for them.

My students know when I am passionate about my teaching. It is this feeling that can be infectious and encourage the students to keep trying. I have seen many classrooms where this feeling is absent and those students are just vegetating in there. I hope that I do not have a classroom like this and I feel it is important to evaluate my own teaching practices on a regular basis. I need to keep asking myself if I am passionate about my teaching and how do I show it. If I can answer these questions, I feel my teaching will be successful.

Original image: 'hallelujah'


Roger said...

As a newly-trained teacher who has not yet obtained employment, I am able to spend my time reading and thinking and feeding my passion for education. I watch my employed fellow-graduates and see their passion but I wonder how they will maintain it amidst the pressure of work. I know it's a truism, but there has to be a balance between the workload and time to stop and consider - call it PD if you like but it's more than that. Without sufficient time to stop and think, or just to rest and recuperate, I wonder how even the most passionate of teachers will maintain his or her drive. how can you be at your most passionate and effective if you're sleep deprived or lacking mental breaks? Unfortunately, that seems to be the fate of teachers everywhere - and it's worse for new teachers.

Dana said...

Hi Pat,

I love your passion. I am looking for passionate people to publish their articles on their passions. I would like to invite you to send me article(s) one for each passion (teaching, hiking,scrapbooking) if you would like here:

I appreciate your passion for teaching in special needs. The world need more people like you.
Thank you!


loonyhiker said...

@Roger I think that is why reflection is so important when being a teacher. We need to stop, step back, and look at what we are doing. Then analyze it and think about what we could do differently. Sometimes I talk it over with others and get their ideas. I think this helps energize me. You are so right about taking time for ourselves is important too.

loonyhiker said...

@Dana Thank you for the compliment. I will work on that and send you something soon.