Enthusiasm and Authenticity

” The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”-William A. Ward

When I first started instructing, the Dean of my school request me to tell him the moment I was truly me in the classroom. I did not understand what he meant. In my mind I kept thinking, well I am me everyday in the classroom how can I be anyone else? Weeks later he came to visit our department, stood in my office and asked me to tell him how my class was going that day. I began to describe what I was doing with the students and what they were learning and in the middle of my explanation he proclaimed “There, there it is, that is you. That is you in the classroom”. With that he turned on a heel and walked off to complete the rest of his rounds. I sat in bewilderment for a moment and thought what could he see that I could not. As I contemplated and reflected I realized that what he saw was my enthusiasm. He saw it in my eyes, he saw that I was excited about what I teaching. He saw my passion and authenticity shining through. I realized he was so excited to see that because he knew, that is what makes a good instructor.

I found a great article centering around teacher enthusiasm and how it is a prominent behavior of teachers that effects student learning. The article is written for teachers of physical education, but it has great points that we could all integrate into our practice. They talk about how our tone of voice, eyes, body language and facial expression play a huge role into the deliver of our material. Here is the link to the article if you are interested in reading it. http://www.pecentral.org/climate/monicaparsonarticle.html

I strongly feel that you can be  a very knowledgeable individual in your chosen field. You can even be the best at what you do but that alone will not make you a good teacher. A great fictional example of this is Sheldon on the Big Bang Theory. Obviously a brilliant physicist, but in no way a candidate to be a great physics teacher. I have included a humorous Youtube clip below of his utter dismay at having to teach.

I know that we have all had that teacher that had the knowledge but just not the talent to disseminate it to us. Or the teacher who was tried, uninterested or bored with what they were doing. Teaching I believe has to be a passion, it must be something you wake up looking forward to doing everyday. I don’t feel that even the best actor could masquerade as a true teacher without at least a little passion for their trade. Students can see a lack of enthusiasm and authenticity in a teacher and will not enjoy or learn as much as from that individual. I feel that making sure as educators our authenticity and enthusiasm are two of the most important traits we can have. Everything else, even content can be learned.

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