Monthly Archives: October 2011

Inspiration & Encouragement

We can all agree that teaching is extremely challenging, but we can also agree that this makes it equally as rewarding (if you’re doing your job right!). However, sometimes you might find yourself feeling discouraged or hopeless, wondering if you’re truly making a difference and influencing your students. We all need a few words of inspiration sometimes, so I scanned this (fantastic) hub for what I thought were some of the most inspiring quotes and what you should take from them to get you through your teaching career:

“Every truth has four corners: as a teacher I give you one corner, and it is for you to find the other three.” –Confucius

Unless you’re teaching Kindergarten, you shouldn’t be holding your student’s hands all the way through. The idea of education is to provide proper instruction and insight for your students to grow and learn forever. As the old Chinese proverb states, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” If you’re students move on to the next grade taking nothing with them to add upon, you haven’t done your job.

“Thought flows in terms of stories — stories about events, stories about people, and stories about intentions and achievements. The best teachers are the best storytellers. We learn in the form of stories.” –Frank Smith

If you bore your students with PowerPoint slides and lectures, there’s a good chance not only are they not going to listen, but they’re not going to learn a single thing from you. Even if you can’t seem to conjure up stories relating to your material, there’s plenty of stuff on the internet to do that for you. Introducing humorous or shocking (and relevant!) videos/stories to your class will engage them a lot more than a boring slide presentation.

“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them become what they are capable of becoming.” –Goethe

Have faith in your students, even if they don’t have faith in themselves. Often times, when a student feels discouraged and hopeless, all they need is to know that they’re truly capable of overcoming all obstacles. Helping them believe that what they’d like to achieve is in reach is really more encouraging than actually helping them get there. They’ll remember you as the person who believed in them when no one else did.

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement, nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” –Helen Keller

In every profession, especially education, things aren’t always going to work out according to plan. It would be lollipops and rainbows if every student in your class passed with flying colors, but let’s be serious, that doesn’t happen (and if it does, you’re lessons are probably cake and no one’s learning anything anyway). The most important thing is to persevere and never give up. It’s more gratifying to help the students struggling, no matter how much time and effort you have to put in, rather than seeing anyone left behind.

“They may forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel.” –Carol Buchner

You can preach all you want, but if your students can’t connect to you on some level, they will never share your passion. Appeal to the emotion of your students; engage and involve them on a different level. This is the best way to be sure they’ll take more than just a letter grade away from your class.

“A very wise old teacher once said: “I consider a day’s teaching wasted if we do not all have one hearty laugh.” He meant that when people laugh together, they cease to be young and old, master and pupils, jailer and prisoners. They become a single group of human beings enjoying its existence.” –Gilbert Highet

You’ll be respected a heck of a lot more if you can bring a class together with humor. Students will see you as a human being and not just an authority figure. Sometimes the easiest way to earn respect is to get down on their level instead of acting superior. Cracking jokes makes people feel more at ease, and you’ll have a better teaching/learning experience all around.

“Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theatre.” –Gail Goldwin

It’s not so much what you say, but how you say it. When actors put on a good show, they absorb their audience on all different levels. Similarly, teachers should engulf their students so that learning isn’t a chore, but comes as easily as watching a good movie or play. Can you recall some of the best movies/shows you’ve seen? You can rehash almost everything about the story line and characters even though you weren’t trying to learn it. The same goes for good teaching; learning shouldn’t feel like a chore.


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Filed under Education, Inspiration, Quotes