Monday, June 18, 2012

They Don't Love Your Subject (and That Is Okay!)

I really love reading about the American colonial period and the revolution. I have a very large library of books on those time periods. Yes, I am a history geek (at least over that period of time.) While I taught fifth grade I was always tickled to share my love during our social studies class. I had a lot of passion and a wealth of knowledge to share. I just didn't understand why so many kids found it to be not their thing.

I realize something now that I didn't then. This may also come as a surprise to some of you. Not every student loves learning about history!!!! (Ridiculous I know, right?) Actually, it isn't.

Every teacher becomes a teacher because something in the content they learned really appealed to them. Perhaps it was math class that set them on fire, or doing experiments in science. I would make a bet that some even get into teaching because they love spelling! (about as alien a concept to me as calculus). Because we love our particular pet subject, we expect our students to catch our enthusiasm and realize that the coolest teacher they have ever had (in my case very true) loves it, by gosh they will love it too! They really have no choice because, after all, it is the best subject they will ever be exposed to. (Have you heard my talk on Peale's Mastadon? Such a fascinating story.)

The truth is, not all students will love your favorite subject. Not only is that okay, it is preferable. We need to allow our students the freedom to follow what they are passionate about. We need to love our students enough to let them not share our passion.

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