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Renew the Passion and Go with the Flow!




Teach with passionJanet Bianchini gives her tips on how to re-ignite your fire for teaching if your embers have started to cool.

To teach with passion is life-enhancing. Passion is the fuel we need to achieve satisfaction in every area of life. Passion instils “flow”, or a momentum, according to Scott Thornbury’s latest insightful blog post “F is for Flow”. But what do you do if you feel you have reached a dead end? You have passed your peak? You are on autopilot? Your creative juices have withered? You lack the energy to create lively stimulating lessons? You feel that more “tech-savvy” teachers have overtaken you? The list goes on… Worry no more. Help is at hand. I will reveal 10 sure-fire ways to regain the spark and instil some “flow” back into your teaching.

1.  Age-defying

Surround yourself with passionate teachers in school and you will be re-energised by their enthusiasm and zest for life. A love for one’s job defies age.

2. Peer Observation

Request to observe a fellow teacher as part of your Continuing Professional Development and offer to be observed yourself. This could be just what you need to recharge your batteries and give you a renewed sense of purpose.

3. Sharing is Caring

Attend a local workshop or national / international conference and then implement a new idea(s) into your teaching repertoire immediately. The most important thing, however, is to trickle down to your colleagues.  Do not keep your new knowledge just to yourself. Share your newly acquired knowledge freely. Be proud and feel happy that you are helping other teachers to learn new tips and techniques. This will do wonders for your self esteem, I can guarantee you.

4. Talk Shop

Invite a few of your fellow teachers to meet up in a local coffee bar / pub. Sharing ideas in a totally different environment from school can prove to be extremely beneficial. Learning is all about other people, not just you!

5. Teacher Recall

Think back to your favourite teacher ever. What made that teacher so memorable? Make a pact with yourself to incorporate the positive characteristics of this particular teacher into your next lesson.

6. Blogging

Start your own blog as soon as possible if you do not have one already. It will change your life. Period. Publishing your thoughts will empower you and spur you on to achieve more in your professional life. Blogger.com is a very easy platform and is the one I use with a fair modicum of success. Sue Waters has great tips on how to get you started blogging. Posterous is another platform which is very quick and easy to set up and if you don’t feel comfortable sharing with the whole world, then you can keep it all private. The act of writing your feelings down is very therapeutic and stimulating. It could turn your life around.

7. TED Talks

Be inspired by great educators who all have one thing in common – passion for their field of expertise. Make sure you watch Sir Ken Robinson’s “Bring on the Learning Revolution”. Observe the masters and learn from them.

8. Co-Teaching

Do something different from the norm. Request to co-teach a class with another member of staff. Observe how you deal with this new situation and learn from the mutual feedback.

9. Mentoring

Volunteer to mentor a new teacher. The act of mentoring is a way of giving something back to your profession, and it is a very fulfilling activity. I enjoyed mentoring immensely and it gave me a fresh outlook on teaching. If this is not an option in your school, then mentor someone online in some way. My great mentor is Karenne Sylvester from Kalinago English. She has helped me enormously on my blogging journey. I try to do the same for fellow bloggers. It gives me huge satisfaction. Try it.

10. Develop your Personal Learning Network

PLN - Participate, Learn, Enrich

Connect with other passionate educators online and learn from them. Since I developed my Personal Learning Network last year, my life has been enriched immeasurably. For this, I will be eternally grateful to the members of my PLN for fuelling the catalyst for staying motivated and interested in my job. The photo above was selected to be a part of Shelly Terrell’s marvellous “Why do we connect?” video.

Final Thoughts

If enthusiasm for your job has waned, unfortunately, nobody but you can reinstall it. You are your own destiny. You alone can make change happen. Follow some of the tips above and just see how the energy will begin to flow. Once you are in the flow, I am sure you will not look back.

What tips can you share to help teachers who are experiencing a period of low energy or enthusiasm for their job?  I would love to have your feedback!

[Image generated by free service ImageChef.com]

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  1. Great Ideas!
    Simply speaking, teaching is much more than “Open your books on page 40, let’s do Exercise 2”. Yesterday I read an article about the importance of “Hooks” in the classroom for engaging lessons.
    A motivated teacher will do much more and have much more fun him/herself!!!

  2. Hi Marcos

    Thank you for your kind comment and feedback. I agree, self-motivation for a teacher is a key word for instilling fun in the classroom. It goes well beyond the text book, as you rightly point out.

    However, what happens when that very self-motivation is lacking? This can happen to all of us at some stage in our careers. I guess, that is when one has to take action and do something positive and very different, as I have suggested above, in order to regain that missing “X” factor. Students can tell instantly when that is lacking and therefore they react accordingly, often to the detriment of the teacher. That is often when a vicious cycle starts. The good thing is, a teacher can turn this pattern around.



  3. May I also suggest a change in altitudes can lead to a change in attitudes?

    Sometimes teaching new students in a new subject in a new environment, new city, and new country can revitalize your passion for teaching English.

    I’ve taught in Madrid, Spain, Paris, France, and Saigon, Vietnam over the last five year period. Each new teaching assignment provided many new insights, created new possibilities, and revitalized me.

  4. Hi Eric

    Great tip! Thank you. An “altitude change” is certainly a fantastic way to remotivate anyone who needs a new challenge or simply to learn about new cultures and ways of teaching elsewhere.

    I have taught in Madrid as well. “Los gatos de Europa” certainly kept me awake all night until I joined them!

    I have never taught in the Far East. Saigon and Vietnam must be amazing places to have taught in.

  5. I was impressed with what you shared about how we can improve ourselves more than what we expect. Its only now that I found your site and read about your tips for enthusiasm, destiny, and hope to make all happen because we have this energy for our job. I am also an educator and I love to share whatever I learned very effective to me and to my students. While teaching, I usually conduct my experiments where my own students are respondents then whatever I found from them, I also confirm from others’ perception about my findings doing things that could help them too and comparing results of what I found from my own students. This is the main reason why I write blogs, journals, and mentor others. This is to give back the honor to people who needs my support through my activities I do in the web. And all these are free. This is where I get additional enthusiasm in my work and I am sure of it.

  6. As I contemplate with my previous comment and found your reply Janet, I wanted to look back from my past experiences that I am sure will be of help to other educators like us, parents who used to home school their children, and counselors in various cases for their significant contributions for humanity.

  7. Hi Marita

    It’s lovely that you have come back to revisit the post. Looking back on our past experiences is often very worthwhile as this can help us to do our best in the present.

    Many thanks and best wishes


  8. […] Take time out, if it is possible in order to recharge one’s batteries, try to connect with other teachers who can provide a supportive network.  I wrote a guest post for OUP ELT Blog called  Renew the Passion, and Go with the Flow.   It contains a few tips which may be of interest: https://teachingenglishwithoxford.oup.com2010/06/18/renew-the-passion-and-go-with-the-flow/ […]

  9. Because of your very encouraging answers to my comments, I’ve conducted researches that helped not only our students and teachers but also our organization. It really made differences in our processes and human resources. Now our school is a candidate of Level 1 status accreditation despite its smallness and within 9 years of my stay here as head of the academic affairs it stood up so fast to excellence and quality. Thank you so much.

    • Dear Marita

      I am delighted to see your post here after the last messages we exchanged 5 years ago. It is wonderful to hear how your school has developed and many congratulations on all the success you have achieved! Best wishes Janet

      Date: Wed, 15 Jun 2016 15:08:45 +0000 To: [email protected]

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