As teachers, we know all too well how tough it is to get (or keep) our energy level up to teach students who sometimes don’t want to learn. I’ve even heard students describe us (teachers) as being “just a speed bump to a grade.”
It is true that more and more students are not mastering the necessary basic skills to succeed. It’s also true that more and more students are taking their education for granted and not respecting the process and institution of learning. However, these obstacles also offer us an opportunity to make a huge impact on our students.
One of the cardinal rules of teaching is that students will not believe in you until you first believe in them and in what you’re teaching them.
As discouraging as some students’ attitudes are, nothing should negate the fact that as teachers, we have an opportunity to take a closed mind and replace it with an open one. In essence, that’s our number one priority…to get students to think.
Your class gives you a great opportunity to get students to open their minds and challenge themselves beyond their limits. You’re not only teaching them basic skills, you’re teaching them “life skills” – skills that will impact them well beyond the classroom. Unfortunately, if you don’t believe this is true, neither will your students.
To get yourself in the right mindset for teaching your class, skim through your learning objectives. Then ask yourself, “Would I have benefited from this material as a student?” If not, then you definitely should not be teaching the subject, because you will have no conviction in the classroom. And we’ve all heard the saying, “When it comes to children, you can’t kid a kid.” The same is true about students. Students can detect an insincere teacher faster than a fake I.D.
However, if you truly believe that the knowledge and information contained in your class has or would have proven to be beneficial to you as a student, then ask yourself, “How?” The rest is simple; simply take your conviction and passion, and then put it into the curriculum and class discussions.
The fact of the matter is, students will only care about your class to the degree to which you do. If you don’t care about a thing, that “thing” can and will become a burden on you. Likewise, if you do a “thing” for the wrong reasons, you become a burden on others. And quite frankly, if you don’t care, you shouldn’t teach.