CONTAGIOUS ENTHUSIASM FOR TEACHING AND LEARNING
I wrote much of this post about 5 years ago and was reminded of it recently by one of my subscribers who remembered it. I forgot to ask what was it that caught the attention of the reader. Regardless, here it is with some editing, revising and updating.
For the past 12 years I have had the luxury of working part-time, choosing those places and people with whom I wanted to work and who seemed to welcome the connection and the relationship. On my side of the equation, I find these instances to be invigorating, energizing, stimulating, productive and rewarding. I say that in a holistic way, intellectually, physically, emotionally and spiritually. For my clients, my students and my associates, I trust they find our work together productive and satisfying, hopefully meeting or exceeding their expectations. Feedback helps.
Much of my teaching is informal in the sense that it can be one on one or in small groups, through writing and speaking, leading seminars and workshops and engaging via social media. In a more formal sense, I returned to a classroom, teaching students in two supposedly separate subject areas, psychology and speech. However, it’s hard for me to separate those artificially as they are quite interrelated. I hope the students saw and were able to use their learning experience to their great advantage. In fact, much of education goes on in silos, disconnected subjects or courses that are not integrated and interdisciplinary but that’s another topic for another time.
What I rediscovered was the joy of being in the classroom. The challenge of engaging these post-secondary students, many of whom struggled previously with the educational system, was for them to discover that they have more power to create their lives ahead than they ever thought possible. The academic subjects are merely tools for them to develop so that they will have more choices than they might have considered previously. We had a short window of time to achieve some mutually agreed upon goals. When those students got excited about learning in a similar way that I was about teaching, we made a lot of progress in their learning, growth and change. Enthusiasm is contagious!