Be an inspiration!

Image from Pixabay
We all need inspiration. At the start of the new year, we need all the inspiration we can get to create the impetus and motivation to keep going.

So it was timely that a thought provoking tweet from Ted Fujimoto appeared in my timeline this morning. It has prompted me to think about what it means to be an inspirational teacher.

What does an inspirational teacher do, and what should I emulate and avoid? Here's the tweet:

Thinking back on my own school days, this resonates strongly within me. My time at school was not a good time. Much of it was focused on avoiding bullying and escaping from ridicule and failure. Most of my teachers seemed to be there just to fill in the hours before home time. But, thankfully, there were TWO teachers - one in primary school and one in secondary school that stood out for me. 

Why is it that these two teachers stand out in my memory all these years later? 

They stood apart from the average teachers I encountered because of their passion, their dedication and their willingness to go the extra mile when called upon to do so. Both made an impact on my life at an early stage, when it was critical to do so. Both created within me the desire to learn, to create, to question; and both encouraged me when no one else did. Even when I failed, they encouraged me to pick myself up and try again. 

Both loved their jobs working with young people, and both exuded a joyfulness and exuberance that demonstrated love for their subjects and a deep desire to pass their knowledge on to the children in their care. Most importantly, both teachers believed in me - that I could reach as high and far as I wished to go to achieve my dreams - even if I surpassed their own achievements. These are the characteristics that I try to emulate during my own work as an educator. 

Do you believe in your students? Are you passionate about your subject and do you have a deep desire to impart your knowledge to them? And in the long term - are you willing to encourage them to question everything, reach farther and attain what seems to be unreachable? Here's the hardest part - will you be proud of them when they surpass everything you have ever done? If these are your characteristics as a teacher - then you cannot fail to be inspirational. 

I wish you a successful, peaceful - and inspirational - NewYear!

Creative Commons License
Be an inspiration! by Steve Wheeler was written in Plymouth, England and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


Martin King said…
I think almost everyone has at least one teacher who was more than a robot and inspired them - I was lucky - I had a few. I also had teachers who did the opposite ...I wanted to go to University and study psychology .... but because I was in a relatively deprived secondary modern school said I should look for a job instead instead - just as well I didn't listen to them.

Steve Wheeler said…
You were indeed lucky there Martin. One of my teachers told my parents I wasn't academic, and would never be able to hold down a job requiring a lot of thinking. I like to think that I learnt in spite of some of my teachers. That's why the very good ones hold a special place in my memories.
This post reminds me of Mrs Griffiths, who taught me in primary school. She would put butter on my pink-iced Boston bun (aka Sally Lunn), saying that it was a terrible thing to have for lunch, but at least she could put butter on it and thus provide some nutrition. I found her an inspiring teacher and in retrospect imagine that this act of caring was also present in many other ways, including in the ways in which she taught.
Teaching is a passion not a profession. One only remembers the teacher with passion.

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