Tap Into Interests

Aug 13, 2023

Around this time of year, I often think back to a conversation I overhead at a restaurant several years ago. Two brothers were talking about the start of school. The soon-to-be first grader told the waitress he couldn’t wait! The soon-to-be eighth grader, not so much. This made me sad – and it made me think.

For the most part, young children entering the education system love school. They are easy to engage and excited to learn new things. Primary teachers will back me up on this. However, something happens along the way that often sucks the joy right out of the learning process.

I am aware of the reality that “school/work” can’t always be fun, but I also believe the two aren’t mutually exclusive. How do I know this? Because I, and many educators I know, are living proof. We love our work. It’s not always easy or what we expect; but at the end of the day, we are still learning, challenged, exhausted, filled, and grateful.

The eighth grader was not looking forward to the start of school, but he did seem to be excited and passionate about seeing a new movie being released. Perhaps, that’s the answer. If the excitement doesn’t come solely through the content, maybe the solution is weaving students’ interests into our teaching efforts.

Teachers, as you kick off a new school year, find ways to explore and build upon your students’ interests. Not only will this be a great way to build positive relationships with them, but by doing so, you might also find the spark needed to keep their learning flames alive long after the novelty of the start of school has passed.

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