Anytime I walk through the door, whether I’m gone for 5 minutes or 5 days, my dog is there to greet me with pure excitement. She runs around, shakes her butt and gives out a few whines. I have never came home to anything less and no matter the type of day I’ve had, her enthusiasm instantly transfers over to me, lifting my spirits.
Enthusiasm is one of the reasons why we love dogs so much. They show an active interest in us and more often than not they’re overly excited.
As teachers, we need to have this same type of enthusiasm for our students. Okay, maybe not the butt shaking but definitely the strong levels of excitement and active interest. As I read and learn more about education, I realize that enthusiasm is always present. Most books I’ve read mention it at some point or another. Yet it’s still underestimated at times.
I first recognized the power of enthusiasm in Teach Like A Pirate, where Dave Burgess writes, “If…you consistently ramp up your enthusiasm level in the classroom, you will be far ahead of the game and a dramatically better teacher. Enthusiasm is that important.” This quote stuck with me. In college, I was taught the importance of a well written lesson plan and how to write a proper multiple choice question. Very rarely, did anything about the power of enthusiasm come up.
In one of my latest reads, Kids Deserve It, Todd Nesloney and Adam Welcome reinforced my beliefs in enthusiasm. The entire book is layered in it. All of the amazing stories and examples seem to be fueled by their endless enthusiasm for their students. While reading it, I could feel my own enthusiasm ramping up.
Enthusiasm is the simplest yet most powerful teaching element. It can lift up the dormant energy of first period, engage students with the driest content, put a smile on an upset student’s face and make our classrooms a place students want to be. It’s contagious and spreads quickly. Most importantly, it helps build and reinforce meaningful relationships with our students.
We can create the best lesson plans. We can possess great classroom management. We can be student-centered. We can flip the classroom and blend it. We can have the best technology in our classrooms but if we are not enthusiastic, everything will fall flat.