Today, I received an interesting comment from one of the teachers who attended the recent State Level Action Research Seminar in Kulai. Let me share the comments with you:
hi pn rahmah!...ive been teaching for almost 1 and a half year now n dat seminar was really an eye-opener for me who sometimes lacks the passion in teaching n sometimes, feeling burnout.. i was totally moved by ur presentation and INSPIRED! i pray dat i cud be just like u, a teacher who seems to have so much passion in herself thus inspiring students to excel too :) thanks for inspiring me n permit me for sharing ur blog with others k? :)
Thanks to xxx for such encouraging comments and I certainly hope she is not burnt out because she is still a 'baby' in teaching!! We need you in the ever challenging ELT world!
My point of discussion in this posting is about passion in teaching- a word we so often use in the teaching field. As a matter of fact, just the other day, an inspectorate complimented me on having a passion for teaching and asked me for the translation of the word passion in BM. I responded with 'ghairah'. Ghairah? "But 'ghairah' seems to have a sexual connotation to it!", he quipped. Well, for want of a better word ...although I think this is the correct word. This word also reminds me of a stint back in 2002 when I presented a paper in the Southern Regional ELT Seminar organised by Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Johor. I think it was my second presentation at the seminar. That particular year saw presenters from Indonesia and Singapore as well. I was this small teacher who was eager to share my journal writing project with the audience. Taking a seat next to a lady after my presentation, she congratulated me and said, " You must be a really passionate teacher." That was so motivating I thought...
So what does it mean to have a passion for teaching really? Well, if I may offer my tuppence worth, I believe to have a passion for teaching means:
- to love children despite their background, age, race and creed - show them that you are genuinely interested in them and their learning. If you don't have a love for children, you cannot touch their hearts. You will just be a routine teacher (my expression) who teaches without feelings and attachment (although granted that too much attachment can be overwhelming sometimes)
- to be enthusiastic in your teaching - you show this through your energy in class. Show that zest as you enter the class and not drag your feet
- to be patient as you deal with different DNA's and moods- be understanding and tolerant with your students' mistakes. I always tell my students, "If you are all good at English, then I don't have a job!!" This is so comforting to them for you're showing them that you understand their problems in learning English and you are willing to give them that time and space to learn.
- to be committed in your purpose-make sure you see projects to the end. Passionate teachers begin and end things they undertake. Teaching is not just a job...
- to have fun, to experience pleasure and intrinsic rewards- like seeing your students' eyes sparkle when you read a short story in class (because they don't read so well!) or when they go up the stage to receive a prize
- to be generous with your time- give your time to your students (although you must learn to set boundaries to your time just so you will not be overworked)
- to surround yourself with equally passionate and positive people- that collegial atmosphere that is so important to keep you motivated but is sometimes missing!