A Passion for Teaching

January 23rd, 2017

Hello and welcome to my blog!

My name is Marly Harmeling and I am a Business Education student at the University of Wisconsin- Whitewater. As a Business Education major, is it my hope to teach Business and Information Technology courses to high school students. I have a personal passion for Economics and would greatly enjoy sharing that passion with my future students.

In my Educational Psychology on January 19, the question was posed “What makes a good teacher?” The class listed things like “knowledgeable”, “organized”, “caring”, “funny” and, “respectful of students”, all of which I think are appropriate descriptors of a good teacher and three of these ideas were even mentioned in our textbook reading as being indicators of a good teacher (Woolfolk 560). After class, I realized I forgot to mention one of the characteristics I look for in a teacher: a passion for teaching and a passion for the subject.

Passion, as described in an article by Cagri Mart entitled “A Passionate Teacher: Teacher Commitment and Dedication to Student Learning”, refers to passion as “a strong inclination or desire towards an activity that one likes and finds important and in which one invests time and energy” (Carbonneau et. al in Mart 437). Mart sees that passionate teachers are teachers who are often more committed to the work they do, and that passionate teachers can have a profound effect on their students. Mart claims that “Passionate teachers are fiercely devoted to their work and greatly inspire their students” (Mart 438). I know this was true for me in high school.

During high school, my favorite teachers were Mrs. Gulke and Mrs. Phillip. Mrs. Gulke taught U.S. Constitution and Mrs. Phillip taught English Composition. Although they both had very different teaching styles, their passion for teaching and for the subject matter was evident. Both teachers, however, had an evident passion for their respective subjects that was contagious.

Prior to taking either of their classes, I thought the US Constitution and English Composition were boring, but their classes always had students interested and engaged in the discussion or activities of the day. In my spare time, I still enjoy writing stories or researching current legislative events. Their passion for their respective subjects and passion for teaching those subjects lead me to see the value of creative writing and the importance of the Constitution of the United States of America.

Another great example of a passionate teacher is Mr. John Keating from the movie Dead Poets Society (1989). Keating, played by Robin Williams, is an English teacher who has a passion for poetry and inspires his students to look at poetry differently. In the movie, Keating takes the time to present the material in a way that students find interesting. He uses some unconventional methods, but succeeds in engaging his students, as evidenced by the smiles and laughter in the following clip.

On the other hand, the economics teacher in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off  (1986) is a great example of a teacher who fails to engage students. The teacher speaks in a monotone voice and offers very little opportunity for students to engage in discussion. His lecture style of teaching has students falling asleep, confused, or completely not paying attention as evidenced by the faces of the students in his classroom.

The Economics teacher example is one I find especially hard to watch, as I truly enjoy Economics. If I were in that classroom, I might begin with current events instead of delving immediately into history and would also seek to convey concepts in a manner that was applicable to the daily lives of the students. Overall, I would seek to make Economics more than just a history lesson, and instead demonstrate to students that Economics is a social science that has an impact on the lives of US citizens every day.

In conclusion, being passionate in the classroom is another important characteristic of a good teacher.

References

Mart, Çağrı T. “A Passionate Teacher: Teacher Commitment and Dedication to Student Learning.” International Journal of Academic Research in Progressive Education and Development 2.1 (2013): 437-42. Print.

Woolfolk, A. E. (2014).  Educational Psychology: Active Learning Edition (12th ed.). Boston: Pearson. Print.


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