This year in our pilot programs at the middle school I am employed at, I have experienced more joy in teaching and in learning than I ever have experienced. Students given choice has, so far, been invigorating and challenging at the same time. Teachers are very stressed and uncomfortable, but knowing that this will bring along many rewards, such as teaching responsibility, self-reliance, and grit. Not being the end-all, be-all to technological knowledge has been a difficult transition, but has said more about me and my ego than it has anyone else. Taking the ego out of my career has been the challenging part. And i am growing. But, as I stare at a bulletin board called “The Power of ‘Yet'”, I know that although this year is definitely not going to be easy. It IS going to be worth it.
Joy breeds enthusiasm! Or does enthusiasm bring joy? It is very much a chicken and the egg situation and one cannot exist without the other. New educators must create joy in their classroom by demonstrating enthusiasm! I will never forget the years where I got dirty in science class and I really think that those days prepared me to be a good teacher. Even though now I teach adults, I certainly miss the adolescent learner.
This quote posted on the Clif Mims’ blog by guest writer Ann Monroe says something near and dear to my heart:
A teacher can demonstrate enthusiasm by…
sharing the JOY of learning.
having a PASSION for science, math, language, etc.
making learning FUN.
showing an APPRECIATION for art, music, literature.
sharing their EXCITEMENT for learning.
demonstrating a CURIOSITY for the world around them.
having an EAGERNESS to learn and grow.
creating a STIMULATING learning environment.
Deeply moved by this post, my question to you all (few) readers is this: is it possible to motivate a student learner without enthusiasm? In reflecting on my years of education, these ways that teachers can create lifelong learners can create an environment that can affect change. Joy is the key.