Listerine Guy

“I love what I do.” This statement is made time and time again by individuals in respect to their professions. It is an important component of life health. Enjoying your work aids in mental health. Enjoyment can also result in the demonstration of enthusiasm for what we do. It is this overt enthusiasm for our subject matter and our jobs that is important in teaching. Students are very observant and when enthusiasm is demonstrated in your teaching practice they notice. A question our staff is asking is how to decrease the apathy that students are showing towards school. In an article by Murray Mitchell entitled Teacher Enthusiasm: Seeking Student Learning and Avoiding Apathy (2013), he forms a link between the enthusiasm demonstrated by the teacher and the excitement that results in the learning process by students within physical education classes. I find that when I am sick or tired and am unable to participate in classes (at all or on a limited basis) the energy in the class is significantly lower. Students who are less motivated to engage in the activity will use the opportunity to withdraw from the class. Individuals that are traditionally highly motivated to engage in the sport will be less excited to play. My enthusiasm has a direct consequence on the engagement of the learner.

Our school administration goes through a process of asking all teachers what they would like to teach. Although not every teacher ends up with exactly what they request, this process allows for the majority of our staff to teach courses they enjoy. The enjoyment of the subject matter is important. Equally important is the ability to demonstrate that enthusiasm to the students. Mitchell (2013) provides an assessment tool for enthusiasm in his paper that can be used to self-evaluate or be used by students to provide instructors with feedback regarding the perceived enthusiasm of instructors.

It may be hard at times to model enthusiasm due to a number of outside influences. One key aspect of demonstrating that Murray (2013) discussed was the importance of preparation. Teachers can show that they are excited about the topic or subject matter simply by demonstrating that they are prepared for the lesson. PE teachers who have equipment ready and in working order for the day show a higher level of readiness than those who ask class what they want to do and pull out equipment that may be in disrepair. Modelling effective preparation and continually striving to demonstrate an enthusiasm for your subject matter will lead to a decrease in student apathy and an increase in enjoyment by your students.

Mitchell, M. (2013). Teacher Enthusiasm: Seeking Student Learning and Avoiding Apathy. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance84(6), 19-24.