It’s no coincidence that the best lessons I’ve taught are the ones I’m most enthusiastic and passionate about.

I believe that kids sense when you’re truly passionate about something and from what I’ve seen, this triggers their curiosity. It’s like they are getting a chance to know you better. Once they know you’re passionate about something, they seem to take it more seriously and want to impress, or find out why you are so interested in it.

One of my favourite stories of all time is Romeo & Juliet. After looking through some tubs at school, I stumbled across some reader’s theatre sets. Luckily enough, one of the sets was Romeo & Juliet. My eyes lit up, this was perfect for my reading group!
Almost immediately I was thinking of things I could do with it, different ways to present the story, questions to ask, information to give – it was all coming very easily to me.
I couldn’t wait to get to the next class to show them what I had found and take them through the story.

I presented it to them exactly as I felt about it:

“one of the greatest story’s ever told”

“a story over 400 years old and still as popular as ever”

“a story known throughout the world”

“a story written in 1595 made into a modern movie 400 years later”

“a story that has made countless people angry, happy, sad, smile, frown, laugh and cry”

“a story with lines so famous that people quote them without thought”

“a story that helps continue to make the author a house hold name”.

I had their attention after that introduction.
I didn’t need to think or plan how to introduce it, I just sat down with the students and told them what it was and what I thought of it, it was easy!

From that point on, it has been an absolute joy to teach and has been something I look forward to every week.
The students knew little to nothing about the story but I believe my enthusiasm played a key part in engaging them.

I do find some topics harder to teach than others.
These are topics that I have struggled to be creative and engaging with and I have  paid the price, having to deal with behavioural, engagement and focus issues.
I think it’s important to at least try and generate some enthusiasm about what is being learnt, to try and find a way to create some excitement or at least take the chore out of the topic.
What I now try and do when teaching a tough topic is to try and remember what it’s like to teach a topic I’m passionate about. Try and remember the attitude I had to the enjoyable topic and replicate it as best I can.

If you’re passionate about something use it! Meld and integrate it into your teaching. Not only will it make it easier and more enjoyable for you to teach but that enthusiasm will rub off and hopefully provided a more engaged class.

*As I write this I have been thinking…
I love the Tour De France and think it would be a good way to teach time, distance, geography, maths….and have a little bit of fun with.

Have you used a personal passion to aid teaching?

What was it? How did it go?