It’s no secret that the best leaders, the most effective people, have passion for what they do. It drives them to see past what others see. To push the boundaries that the rest of us move within, and by doing so, achieve remarkable results. In all professions, properly channeled passion is a great attribute that will elevate your career as well as your quality of life. With teaching, it’s a non-negotiable requirement —every day, with every student.

Infighting the Fire

Why is passion a mandatory component of a teacher’s DNA? Because we work with children whose sense of passion is tangible. In fact, it’s more apparent than any of the five senses we teach them in science class. Watch how a three-year-old reacts when her favorite toy falls out of her reach. Ask a 10-year-old how excited she was to learn that “macaroni-and-cheese” is an actual Crayola color. You can even feel the angst a newly minted teenager experiences when they can’t wear their favorite “cool” sweatshirt. The entire trajectory of their life is ruined!

From Infancy through high school, children experience the world in emotional technicolor. If they don’t sense that you do too, they have little interest in you or what you teach them. With the ongoing events surrounding COVID-19, this fact has only become more palpable.

Stoke the Embers

Most teachers enter the profession with a profound sense of passion, only to see it dim over time. Complicating matters, this fall has presented us with challenges none of us ever expected to face. We’re exhausted, and worried, and our passion has largely been replaced by anxiety. So, how do we reignite the flame? Here are 10 ways to keep your passion for teaching alive:

  1. Surround Yourself with Passionate Educators (Virtually!): There’s an old proverb that states if you want to travel fast, go alone. But if you want to travel far, go together. Find a community of passionate educators and work to support one-another.
  2. Build Lessons with Questions: Has the answer, “Because I said so” ever satisfied anyone? Instead of just teaching the material, create lessons which ask, “Why?”, “How?” and “What?”
  3. Bond with Each Students: There will always be students who are easier to teach than others. Don’t let this stop you from making a real connection. Every student has the potential for greatness!
  4. Connect Your Lessons: Show how the knowledge students are acquiring can be used for real-world solutions. Consider using project-based learning to amplify the positive change.
  5. Expect Passionate Responses: Don’t let students get away with the bare minimum. Challenge them to go further and think deeper than they have before.
  6. Discover and Direct their Talents: Many students are still discovering who they are. Help them discover their talents and show them how they can be used productively.
  7. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: Mistakes are going to happen, especially this year. Just accept that this will be a learning experience and keep moving forward.
  8. Be Passionate about Other Things: Discover a hobby or movement that allows you to express yourself, then share it with your students.
  9. Break Routine: Nothing helps students learn like the unexpected. Establish routines to give them structure, but don’t be afraid to step off the trail occasionally.
  10. Teach for the Students: We do what we do because we’re passionate about helping young minds discover the world. Don’t let outside issues distract you from this truth.

Burning Bright

While a difficult year is still ahead of us, I have confidence that our passion for teaching will remain undiminished. So long as we work together, and continue to learn from our students, there’s no limit to what we can achieve. So, rest up and get ready because a brand-new teaching journey is about to begin.

We hope you are all staying healthy and safe during this difficult time. For more free educational resources, or ideas on how to promote healthy Social-Emotional Learning, simply follow this link!