Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fostering Student Enthusiasm

Every teacher longs for the day that students show enormous enthusiasm for the topic. When the newfound excitement is the result of a "lightbulb" moment or finally connecting two seemingly unrelated concepts, the thrill is immeasurable. I have witnessed this student excitement repeatedly in the past few days.

Several of my students have attended concerts this week and have found it invigorating to make connections between the classroom lectures and the realities of the concert hall. Nothing brings a smile to my face quicker than hearing a student tell me how much they enjoyed the experience. For many of the students, it was their first time to attend a classical concert. Their expectations (despite my best efforts) were low. When they finally grasp the concept that they understand more about the concert than they had anticipated, they are thrilled and let down their guard, enjoying the experience for what it is.

Once the thrill of new knowledge has worn off, the challenge becomes finding ways to continue fostering the excitement in the life of the student. That's where I'm finding myself these days....attempting to motivate some students to continue in their academic pursuits while trying to build enthusiasm in those who have not yet tightly screwed their "lightbulb" into the proverbial socket. The challenge of multitasking is what makes the art of successfully teaching students so difficult and incredibly fulfilling!