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Who inspired you?

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At inspireteach we obviously talk a lot about inspiration. It is a word that gets bandied around rather too much these days. But what does it really mean for you as a teacher and how can you feel inspired yourself and become inspirational for others?

The first thing to do is to look back at your own experience. Do you have a teacher who truly inspired you? Was there someone in your education, maybe at a young age or maybe even a university professor, who comes to mind when this subject comes up? Focus on the memories of that particular teacher and why they have remained with you when all the many hundreds of other teachers you came into contact with did not. Were they exceptionally intelligent? Did they teach you things that you had never heard of before or since? Chances are the answer is no. So why were they inspirational for you?

The reason is that they inspired you because of how they made you feel. Maybe they listened extremely well and so you felt heard. Maybe they gave you encouragement at a very needed moment. Maybe they created lessons that you were keen to attend because those lessons stood out from all the others you were attending at the time. Whatever it was, it created a connection between you and them. It created an emotional connection because you remember them, and you remember being their student.

This is so important for us to remember. When we ask you “are you ready to become the best English Language teacher that you can possibly be?”, we are not asking you if you are ready to study many more courses or gain ten more qualifications. We are asking you if you are ready to look at yourself, your style of teaching, the way you communicate with your students and the way you make them feel. We are asking you to try and become aware of these things and see where you could be connecting better, listening better, creating better. Once we look at these things as teachers and we focus our attention on improving them, then magical things happen in the classroom.

We are not teaching robots and hey, maybe that will become a thing in the not-too-distant future (!). But for the time being it is essential to remember that we are human beings and that our students are human beings and that a positive connection between human beings can remain in the memory for a lifetime. It can spark a love of language that can change the course of a life. It can motivate a previously apathetic student. It can create a lesson that everyone leaves feeling energised and happy and it can inspire a student to remember you and how you made them feel, for the rest of their life. Isn’t that why you got into teaching in the first place?