Convincing Students to Love School

Photo CC- By CollegeDegrees360

When thinking about my high school experience, passion definitely isn’t a word that comes to mind but I was a “good” student. By this I mean I had perfect attendance and received straight A’s, but it wasn’t because I enjoyed learning or was interested in the topics I was learning about. Like Kimberly Vincent said in Nine Tenets of Passion-Based Learning, I was conditioned to be an “obedient” student. While this method of schooling “worked” for me, there is way too many students that it does not work for. In order for students to learn, they must enjoy and see relevance in what they are learning. Dropouts aren’t “lazy” or “unmotivated.” They just don’t find the purpose in what they are learning. A commonly asked question by students is, “When will I ever use this again?” Teachers must show the answer to this question in their lessons for students to value their education.

In Passion-Based Learning, Ainissa Ramirez discussed bringing passion back into education. This article discusses the importance of creating an environment where students can enjoy what they are learning. She also recognizes that teachers need to be passionate in order to pass this on to their students. What I loved most about this article was her idea that teachers need to be vulnerable alongside the students. She said, “Everyone is a geek for something; everyone has a passion for something. Make that something learning. Infect your students with passion, and they’ll never be able to contain it.”

This week, we also observed the similarities and differences between going to school and learning. Throughout School vs. Learning, learning is portrayed as something that is fun and exciting, but school seems to be the opposite. Going off of the descriptions in the article, it seems that learning rarely takes place inside of a school. Doesn’t that seem backwards?

Throughout every article I have read on the topic, one thing remains constant. Students have to like going to school in order to learn something, and that begins with the teacher. Passion is not something a teacher can teach his/her students in a lesson but a contagious attitude of excitement that students can catch. Attitudes in the classroom begin with teachers, and if teachers act like they would rather be somewhere else, students will mirror that negativity. I think being an English teacher will give me a great platform to spread positivity and excitement for learning. Reading and writing gives students the opportunity to learn about so many different experiences and viewpoints and to be creative in a plethora of ways. I’m obviously a little biased, but I can’t see how people aren’t excited about English! No matter what subject a teacher teaches, he/she must be so passionate about teaching the content that students can’t help but be excited about learning it.

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10 Comments

  1. I think you make a wonderful point about teachers spreading a love for school! If there wasn’t at least one or two teachers who made going to school worth it I wouldn’t have liked learning either. There are quite a few classes where you don’t enjoy learning it simply because your teacher doesn’t enjoy teaching it. I think it is great you are prepared to be the teacher who makes kids want to go to school!

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  2. Timmi,
    You make a great point in students being conditioned into being a certain type of student. Opposite of you, this method didn’t really work for me. I was “naturally” better at school, but I skipped a lot, and because I came from a “troubled” home, I had authority issues with some of my teachers. Like you said, it wasn’t that I was unmotivated, but I was bored with the learning, and how it was being taught. Passion from the teachers is something that definitely could have helped me be more interested in learning the material as well as more invested in school.
    Hillary

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  3. Timmi,
    From what I’ve read, I think that you and I had some similar experiences in school growing up. I was always a “good student”, got good grades, and was “proficient” in all of the material I was “learning”. However, the second I left high school, or even finished a certain class, I forgot the vast majority of what I had been taught. Looking back now, this is because I was not learning the material, but instead memorizing it for the test and then forgetting it. Reading about passion-based learning this week has provided some much needed perspective and motivation for life as a future teacher. I love the quote you shared that said, “Infect your students with passion, and they’ll never be able to contain it.” How true!

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  4. Hey Timmi, as usual…I love your blog. You always write so well. Anyway, I totally agree with your High School experience. Every teacher loved me for my hard work, but I never really cared about learning the material. I paid more attention to my grade than I did the material. I had a hard time relating with the teachers and showing them that I was interested, but no teacher has ever shown a passion for my learning. As an educator, I would like to put my student’s passion first. You need to identify these passions and build off of them not on top of them.

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    • Kelly, first of all thank you so much! Also, I agree that getting to know students and incorporating their interests into the classroom would be extremely beneficial in the classroom. I think we have a great opportunity to do that as English teachers because there is so many different ways we can allow students to be creative!

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  5. Timmi,
    Great post! I completely agree that students have to like going to school to learn something. This is something that every teacher of every subject should think about. I also found information from Kimberly Vincent, and found some good insights. Thank you for sharing!
    Haley

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