I’m going to break free from the educational technology tree for a moment to discuss enthusiasm.
Before I “found my calling” as an educator, I spent a small amount of my adult years selling cars. During that time, I got a chance to encounter countless individuals that knew how to generate excitement. I’ll always remember how I sat inspired by corporate motivators at Saturn’s national training conference. “ENTHUSIASM BREEDS ENTHUSIASM” flashed across the powerpoint of the day, and it made a lasting impression. Although I’m no longer selling cars, I am selling education, and the idea that what we are doing in my class each day is important.
We recently finished up our school year, and most of us are have blown past the enthusiasm gate, and into the “when can I start taking afternoon naps” stage. In our program, summer begins almost a third semester that runs sporadically across the calendar. I must stay motivated, and in turn motivate my students in hopes of continued programming. Without ways to execute a summer class for credit, or allow any paid internships, I rely solely on students who “WANT” to be a part of our community productions. From fair events to the Fourth of July, our program runs live audio/video streams and produced events all summer long. In fact, some of our best work is produced during summer months thanks to the passion of some of my most gifted students
Enthusiasm must be shown to create this type of commitment among 14-17-year-old students, with no reward for extra work. Each year our numbers of summer volunteers have grown to over thirty this coming season. These students will get uninterrupted and unstructured real-world experiences without the constraints of traditional classroom lectures and labs.
This type of passion and motivation starts from the top down, which to the student, is the educator. By manufacturing and focusing energy on our lessons we can create enthusiasm that will breed enthusiasm through our classrooms, into our building, and throughout our communities.