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Three Passions all Teachers Must Possess

To teach well, three passions must exist in the heart of an educator:

  1. A passion for the content, be it English or Math or History or Science or Physical Education.
  2. A passion for students–one must enjoy and care about the people one aims to teach.
  3. A passion for the art of teaching–a perpetual researcher, a perpetual seeker of better and more effective ways to teach.

Problems arise when one of these is missing or out of order:

  1. When content is your sole passion, you tend to blame the students for not loving it. You become less and less able to comprehend why students aren’t excited the second they see Shakespeare or quadratic formulas or owl pellets. Sometimes, you may believe that you simply aren’t passionate enough about the particular unit you are teaching, so you may make changes to the unit that undermine the overall school’s goal of having a shared curriculum.
  2. When students are your sole passion, you become frustrated when they, who you care so much about, do not seem to care about the content you teach. They are happy to call you friend, but they merely bear with your insistence on teaching them. Slowly, you can begin to think that what is most important for the students is your relationship with them, not the content or thinking skills you have to teach them.
  3. When the art of teaching is your sole passion, you can become addicted to change. A hurricane of factors come together to tempt teachers and districts to worship innovation for innovation’s sake: the slew of research being done each year, the loads of money that publishers and educational consultants make each year by selling a new silver bullet, and the few teachers who yearly pull out the same worksheets and lesson plans with no desire whatsoever to  adapt to research-based strategies.

Obviously, I don’t hold this trinity of passions as the highest necessary loves of a teacher: above them all must be the Gospel. When Christ’s death on our behalf is the teacher’s central unifying principle, he is able to make his passion for his content subservient to the needs of his school; she is able to love students even when they are difficult to love; he is able to change his teaching when sound research supports such change.

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About davestuartjr
Dave Stuart Jr. is a full-time teacher who writes about becoming better, saner teachers at TeachingtheCore.com. He is a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband to Crystal, and a father to Hadassah, Laura, and Marlena.

One Response to Three Passions all Teachers Must Possess

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