Educate. Encourage. Inspire: Impact your students for life!

Sep 03, 2021 | Posted by the IEW Blog Team

Now that school is back in session, we wanted to share some suggestions that will help you inspire your students throughout the year and into the future. The word inspire comes from two Latin forms: in + spirare, and it literally means “to breathe into.” When parents and teachers inspire their students, they impart vitality and enthusiasm to their students to take on the responsibility of learning, but it’s a joyful experience, not forced or compulsory.

Andrew Pudewa has spoken and written extensively about inspiration, motivation, and relevancy. In his presentations he describes four forms: intrinsic, inspired, contrived, and forced. The first form of relevancy, intrinsic, is the type of motivation that wells up from within. It is an innate part of a person, one that flourishes when parents and educators notice it and provide an opportunity to nurture it.

In this post we will examine the second form of relevancy, inspired relevancy, and ways we can inspire students. Future blog posts will continue to explore the subject by sharing additional ways we can create opportunities that breathe inspiration and relevancy into our instruction.

So how do we as parents and educators inspire our students? What does this look like in our homes and classrooms? To gain a better understanding of what inspired relevancy looks like, listen to podcast Episode R02, in which Andrew Pudewa describes what it is and how it can manifest itself in the classroom. Essentially, inspired relevancy arises when you encounter a subject, hobby, or activity that isn’t initially all that interesting to you, but because you have a person you trust and like who is interested in it, you feel inspired to show an interest in it as well. The passion for whatever that person enjoys is contagious. It spreads.

This has implications for instructors. It comes down to this: If you demonstrate a real love for your subject, whether it be English, math, Latin, science, or whatever, you will, simply by demonstrating your enthusiasm about that subject, spread your excitement to your students. Jennifer Mauser recently wrote about being inspired by her astronomy professor in college in the blog post “Delight in Learning: A Contagious Condition.” Her recollections serve as powerful reminders to all of us who teach. Be sure when you work with students, that you project your joy about the subject matter. Your students are watching.

Besides exuding interest in your instructional subject, what is another way you can inspire your students? Consider mentorship. If you look back at your life, likely you will recall people who inspired you to work harder and learn more. “Passing the Baton: Living a Life of Mentorship” describes how meaningful it is to have mentors in one’s life. Andrew Pudewa has also written about the mentors who have inspired him. “However Imperfectly: Lessons learned from thirty years of teaching,” details the powerful impact Andrew’s mentors had on his life and in the formation of The Institute for Excellence in Writing. His daughter Ellie Diaz wrote about her own experience of her dad inspiring her in “Inspiring Learning.” In the post she mentions how Andrew carved out special time for them to practice editing skills. He graded while she hunted for embedded errors in her own bit of “grading work.”

While mentors certainly impact the lives of their mentees, they also create ripples that continuously spread out, moving beyond to positively affect unknown lives. It’s a cycle that benefits many, not just the people we encounter in our daily lives. Mentorship makes the world a better place.

We would love to hear from you about your experiences inspiring your students or being inspired by a teacher. Click this link, and you will be taken to a web form where you can share your best ideas that you use to inspire your students. Or if you prefer, share a story of a teacher who inspired you. Your stories may be shared in a future blog post. When you participate, you’ll be entered into a drawing for a $100 IEW gift certificate. The drawing will be held September 30.

We can’t wait to hear your ideas, testimonials, and stories. Just think of the ripples we’ll be able to create as we begin to teach our students. It’s going to be a great year!

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