What you must do to keep the passion alive

20th July 2007 at 01:00
At the end of the school year some teachers may feel their contribution has not been valued and become convinced they are in a career rut. But the teaching profession is certainly not unique in this thinking.

Research suggests that 65 per cent of the population feel the only motivation for work is to pay the mortgage. This thinking is a passion killer. And a lack of passion leads to individual reaction rather than pro-action. For teachers, this will affect the energy to prepare for lessons and their performance in the classroom.

Yet we all have the right to be in control of our lives to have a meaningful worklife balance and the right to feel successful. Robin Sieger says that the key components of success are universal, timeless and constant, with successful people being winners on the inside.

I would certainly agree. The most successful teachers I have met are so passionate about what they do I can actually feel their sense of enthusiasm and desire.

Teachers at all levels, no matter how many years they've been doing the job, need to be given creative opportunities.

But what is passion? It comes from within and is about caring about what we do. The world-famous horse-whisperer Monty Roberts describes his passion as a tingling sensation in the depth of his stomach. It may be exhibited in a dynamic way, such as Jamie Oliver with his crusade for healthier school meals, or in Olympic athletes who train many hours a day for years before realising their dream. The humble teacher can also express it in an equal way in the classroom.

Passion enables us to persevere when we momentarily may lack purpose through the inevitable end-of-year fatigue, when we question the value of what we are doing as our efforts remain ignored by the management or governors.

Put simply, passion provides the continual enthusiasm, focus and energy needed for us to perform well and to try to improve. It is most useful when times are not easy as it allows us to stay the course. Individual passion makes for good teachers.

So, after a well-deserved summer break, what passion can you unleash this September to make your school great?

Andy McCann is a former assistant head and now director of AMCAN consultancy and training.

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