3 Ways to Bring Passion to Your Teaching (without faking it)

3 Ways to Bring Passion to Your Teaching (without faking it)

For those of us that can sometimes feel a bit “blah” about teaching a particular subject, or may have just lost that spark; it is important to know that the levels of passion we bring to teaching influence how our students perceive us which impacts their achievement.  

By Samuel Kett

According to John Hattie’s 2016 Effect size research “Teacher Credibility” came in as having the 7th biggest impact on student achievement (read more here). Part of this shows that our students’ perception of the passion we bring to our teaching lives has a direct impact on their achievement. So, we need to take this seriously and if we are lacking that spark, here are 3 forms of passion you can tap into to feel engaged and empowered and inspire your students. 

The 3 Types of Passion You Can Bring to Teaching

In the book “Teach Like a Pirate“, author Dave Burgess (follow him on twitter) says that Teacher passion can be broken into 3 categories.

  • Content Passion: This is the passion that you have for the subjects/concepts you teach.
  • Professional Passion: This is the passion that you have for being an educator, not specific to what you teach.
  • Personal Passion: Everything outside of teaching that you are passionate about. 

In his book, Dave Burgess makes the true yet not widely spoken statement that as teachers, we are not passionate about every aspect of the job or every subject that we teach. However, he also believes that there is a way to bring passion to teaching even when the subject/content/concepts are not of particular interest to you.

Content Passion

Having passion for the content is the easiest way to feel passionate and fulfilled in the teaching profession. When you are teaching a subject, unit, concept or idea that you are particularly passionate about, this will come out in the way you deliver the lesson and in the way you engage with the students. In light of this, as much as is possible in your current situation, try to spend more time on teaching the stuff that excites you; this could mean sharing and team teaching. You could offer workshops about things that are of partcular interest to you or you could even introduce energisers, transitional games and quiz’s related to subjects you are passionate about. 

Professional Passion

When the content of what you are teaching is not something you are passionate about, we can regularly remind ourselves of our professional passion in order to feel driven and excited about teaching. For example we may not be interested in teaching maths, however, we might be passionate about student agency and therefore you can tap into this when teaching a maths lesson. This will bring out your passion as a teacher which will be felt by the students too. Dave Burgess believes that we should be bringing our professional passions into every lesson, this helps keep us inspired and fully engaged in every lesson.

Personal Passion

Personal passions can also be incorporated into lessons. This helps us to feel passionate about our teaching, but also sends a positive message to students that their interests and skills can be applied in all sorts of ways. Teaching while tapping into a personal passion helps to create more empowering lessons as you are teaching from an area of strength. Students get to see your unique skills, strengths and imagination and also be inspired to develop their own.

In Short

It is really important that we mould our teaching practice around our passions and strengths. This is not selfish, this has been shown to positively influence our students’ perceptions of us which puts them in the best headspace to learn. With each learning experience and lesson structure, we can tweak it so that we feel engaged and excited either by making the content personally meaningful, using it as an opportunity to buy into growing as a professional or incorporating a personal passion e.g. learning Maths through Music. 

Your Turn

What could you do in your current line of work to bring more passion to it? After reading this article, what plans do you now have to bring more passion to your work? Maybe you are already passionate about all aspects of the job. Either way, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.


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