Man is only great when he acts from passion
Passion put mankind on the moon, it thrust Roger Federer to tennis fame, and it placed Steven Spielberg on a movie set. It doesn’t matter if you are an artist, an athlete, a scientist or a teacher – passion is what drives people to excel despite the inevitable hurdles they face along the way.
So, maybe its not so strange that passion forms a part of evidence based teaching.
Passion Drives People to Excel
People who are passionate about their work love what they do.
They find purpose in their calling – a purpose that drives them to work hard, to learn along the way, and to achieve more than they have ever accomplished before. Their work challenges them and pushes their abilities to their limits. The challenge excites them. It forces them to think, to learn and to grow. And, amidst this excitement, it is almost as if their work becomes play.
Passion Helps You Persist
This doesn’t mean that passionate people don’t experience the same setbacks as you or I. But their passion fuels their efforts, and it helps them push through the obstacles between them and their success.
It’s so hard that if you don’t have a passion, you’ll give up.
Even the best teachers have bad days and adopting evidence based teaching won’t change that fact. Teaching is hard work, and for those of us that care about our kids, it can be emotionally draining. Your passion to make a difference can stop you from throwing your hands in the air and giving up.
Passionate Teachers Get Better Results
Research1 shows that the best teachers are passionate about teaching.
They are intensely curious about the world and love learning new things. They are also driven by a deep desire to teach and help others. These teachers give their heart and soul to their work, and to the students they teach.
Teachers who are passionate about making a difference are more likely to make a difference.
Your Passion Becomes Their Passion
Your passion for teaching is contagious2.
It gets your students passionate about learning, it ignites their inner curiosity, and it gives them confidence in their own capacity to learn. Passionate teachers generate enthusiasm, which brings out the best in their students and allows their performance to soar.
Share your joy for teaching … for reading … for history, … etc., for it forms the foundation for a love of learning.
Passion Makes Learning Fun
Passion makes learning fun.
Some teachers try to mimic this effect by ‘entertaining’ their class. They don’t understand that it is the teacher’s passion that makes learning fun. It’s not about entertaining kids. When you have passion, you make hard work fun.
Jaime Escalante taught calculus to impoverished students in run down East Los Angeles – a hard subject to make ‘fun’ with a tough group of students thrown in for good measure.
Jaime didn’t try to ‘entertain’ his students. Instead, he worked them hard. However, he did so with passion – a passion for his subject, a passion for his kids and a passion for using education to give them a better life.
As exam time approached, his students took their textbooks everywhere – even to the toilet.
One of his students, Josie Richkarday, studied from 3am until breakfast. Her mother was worried about her, so she suggested that Josie lay off her studies and have some fun. Josie’s response:
“Mom, this is fun; I know what I am doing.”
Passion Is Crucial
The evidence shows that your passion is vital. It affects how students act, and it affects how well they do3.
If you need to, you should re-ignite your passion.
If you genuinely don’t believe that you can be passionate about teaching – you may want to consider a different career. There is nothing worse than being stuck in a job you hate.
Passion Is Just One Part of Evidence Based Teaching
While passion is a potentially potent force, it is just one part of evidence based teaching.
This article is the first in our tutorial A Crash Course In Evidence Based Teaching. From here, we’ll examine what other aspects of teaching have the largest effects on student results.
- Hattie, J. A. C., & Clinton, J. (2008). Identifying accomplished teachers: A validation study. In L. Ingvarson & J. A. C. Hattie (Eds.), Assessing teachers for professional certification: The first decade of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (pp. 313–344). Oxford, UK: Elsevier; Smith, T. W., Baker, W. K., Hattie, J. A. C., & Bond, L. (2008). A validity study of the certification system of the National Board For Professional Teaching Standards. In L. Ingvarson & J. A. C. Hattie (Eds.), Assessing teachers for professional certification: The first decade of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (pp. 345–378). Oxford, UK: Elsevier. [↩]
- Hatfield, E., Cacioppo, J. L., & Rapson, R. L. (1994). Emotional contagion. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. [↩]
- Patrick, B. C., Hisley, J., & Kempler, T. (2000). “What’s everybody so excited about?”: The effects of teacher enthusiasm on student intrinsic motivation and vitality. The Journal of Experimental Education, 68(3), 217– 236; Brigham, F. J., Scruggs, T. E., & Mastropieri, M. A. (1992). Teacher enthusiasm and learning disabilities classrooms: Effects on learning and behavior. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 7, 68– 73; Rosenshine, B. (1970). Enthusiastic teaching: A research review. School Review, 78(4), 499–514. [↩]