An enthusiastic teacher can make a tremendous difference in student motivation and engagement in regards to learning.
This lesson gives you a chance to think about the importance of teacher enthusiasm, as well as how to cultivate an enthusiastic attitude about your teaching.
What Is Enthusiasm?
Ms. Jackson is a fifth grade teacher who has great relationships, or emotional connections, with her students, and is generally very successful at engaging them in learning. Recently, she has started working with student teachers, and finding herself explaining her practice in more detail. She recalls that over the course of her career, she has often been praised for being a particularly enthusiastic teacher.This kind of teacher becomes energized about her students as well as her subject area and approaches teaching with excitement, hope, and charisma.
Ms. Jackson thinks of enthusiasm as part of her personality, but also an intentional aspect of her teaching practice. The more she watches various student teachers work with students, the more convinced she becomes that enthusiasm can be a determining factor in a teacher’s professional success. Ms. Jackson decides to work on figuring out what enthusiasm is all about, why it matters in a teacher, and how teachers can cultivate enthusiasm as a teaching disposition.
Why Teacher Enthusiasm Matters
Ms. Jackson begins her inquiry into enthusiasm by working on defining precisely why she believes it is an important characteristic for a teacher.
She realizes that enthusiasm impacts teaching and learning in a variety of ways.An enthusiastic teacher has energy that is contagious. Students see that their teacher, who they typically care about and want to please, finding subject matter exciting and engaging. This then causes their own motivation for learning, or their desire to learn and excitement about achievement, to skyrocket.
A teacher who is enthusiastic about students and teaching, Ms. Jackson realizes, is more invested in doing the sort of problem solving and processing that a good relationship requires. Part of being enthusiastic about students, is being hopeful about them. This kind of hope can lead to deeper, more meaningful and trusting relationships.Curriculum development, which determines what, when, and how students should learn material, can be tedious, time-consuming work. A teacher who is enthusiastic about students learning and content will find themselves motivated to go well beyond the minimum in developing activities that benefit students’ learning.
Ms. Jackson knows that it is her own enthusiasm that often leads her to go the extra mile in researching new teaching techniques, or finding answers to students’ content-based questions.Ms. Jackson knows that her teaching practice improves when she collaborates with colleagues, such as grade-level teaching companions, specialists and administrators. She finds it unappealing to work with unenthusiastic fellow teachers. She believes that her own enthusiasm about her work makes her a reliable partner and a sought-out collaborator.
What Makes a Teacher Enthusiastic?
Jackson’s student teachers have come to a good understanding of why enthusiasm is important, but they are left with questions as to how they can cultivate enthusiasm in themselves. Ms. Jackson asks them to reflect on areas of their life when they feel naturally enthusiastic, such as particular relationships or hobbies. Then, she asks them to think about how they can bring this level of enthusiasm to bear in their teaching. She encourages them to work on the following areas:
A teacher who is confident in her own practice will be better equipped to project enthusiasm for her students.
Interest in Particular Subject Areas
To the extent that teachers can have some control over their curriculum, they will be able to become more enthusiastic about subjects where they feel passionate and knowledgeable. If you have to teach subjects you are not interested in, try to find ways to make them intriguing for yourself.
Love of Teaching and Students
Though it may sound self-evident, loving your job, and your students, will enable you to be a more enthusiastic teacher. If you find this love lacking, it might be time to take a break or do something to shake things up so that you can rekindle the hopes and feelings that brought you to teaching in the first place.
Teaching is a profession that can be laden with emotions of all sorts.
An enthusiastic, energetic teacher can make all the difference in motivating students and helping them succeed. Enthusiastic teachers are also better planners and collaborators. You can work on your enthusiasm by working on your confidence, your knowledge of your subject area, and your love for your work.