Armstrong teachers speak about maintaining enthusiasm and passion as a teacher

The panel advised future educators on how to thrive in the face of mental, physical, and emotional demands.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

This guest article was written by AJ Asomani-Adem, a first-year doctoral student in LCLE and the Graduate Assistant for the INSPIRE Living-Learning Center.

Considering the mental, physical, and emotional demands that teachers face in their profession, it can be difficult to sustain passion and enthusiasm. The most recent Armstrong Teacher-in-Residence panel, which was made up of three Armstrong Teacher Educators with a wealth of experience, sought to share with future educators how they can thrive in the face of these demands.

The session began with Jackie Williams, a teacher with over 20 years’ experience sharing with the audience some key things to hold on to as they go into the profession. Williams encouraged future educators to let go of their ideas of what teaching would be like and to be aware that “perfection is an unreasonable standard.” She also urged future teachers to find their own measures of success and to know that with their beliefs, attitudes and personal joy, they could start a ripple that changes the world.

Next to speak was Jennifer Martin. Tapping into her over 20 years of teaching experience, Martin reiterated the points made by Williams, adding that teachers needed to dig deep into their hearts and consider why they were choosing to go into this profession. “You have to be excited about what you have chosen to do with your life, which is going to impact students for the rest of their lives,” she said.

Christina Lang spoke on some of the challenges and bumps that future educators might face along the way. She added that while it was sometimes easy to feel defeated as a teacher, it was important to remember the impact being made on students. “As a teacher, you impact the lives of students for many years to come,” Lang said. She also spoke about some of the joyous moments from her own teaching experience.

Following this, the session split into three groups, with each group led by a panel member. Within these groups, students listened to presentations by the various panel members and were given opportunities to ask more in-depth questions.

The Armstrong Teacher Educator Award is an annual award that recognizes educator excellence. The award provides financial support for top Indiana educators to work with current IU faculty and undergraduates in the classroom and early field experiences. Since 1997, this award has been funded through the generosity of the Martha Lea and Bill Armstrong Fund and the Cook Group companies.