Rediscovering our Educational Why

Reflecting and Revising for Greater Impact

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Teaching is not just a profession; It’s a calling that extends far beyond the walls of a classroom.” As educators, we are facilitators that support the future, encouraging young minds and inspiring the next generation. In the hustle and bustle of lesson planning, marking and navigating the complexities of the educational system, it’s easy to lose sight of the essential element that fuels our passion – our “why.” Exploring the purpose behind our commitment to education can be a very worthwhile exercise, empowering us to become more effective and fulfilled teachers.

During college or university, do you remember being asked to write and develop your philosophy of teaching? I’ve recently discovered mine amongst my very important papers. Those early years were filled with hope, motivation, reflection and a lot of learning. It’s been a while since I’ve revisited my teaching philosophy.

Teaching is undoubtedly a challenging profession, filled with obstacles and some hardships along the way. When faced with adversity, your “why” becomes the source of inspiration that helps you persevere through times, reminding you of the positive impact you have on students’ lives.

Understanding your purpose in education can spark creativity and innovation in your teaching methods. It encourages you to think outside the box, experiment with new strategies and tailor your approach to better align with your overarching goals. This not only benefits you as an educator, it also enriches the learning experiences for your students.

A strong sense of purpose enhances your ability to connect with students on a deeper level. When students perceive that their teacher is genuinely passionate about the subject matter and cares about their personal growth, it fosters a positive and supportive learning environment. These connections can have a lasting impact on students’ lives, instilling in them a love for learning that extends beyond the classroom.

Uncovering your “why” can lead to a more fulfilling and rewarding career. When your daily actions align with your overarching purpose, you experience a sense of fulfilment that exceeds the routine tasks of teaching and contributes to your overall job satisfaction, as well as longevity in the profession.

Five practical steps to uncover your educational why:

1. Consider what values are most important to you and how they align with your role as an educator. Are you driven by a passion for knowledge, a desire to make a difference or a commitment to equity in education?

2. Establish clear, long-term goals for your teaching career. What do you hope to achieve, both for yourself and for your students? Setting these goals can help clarify your key purpose and guide your professional development.

3. Engage in open and honest conversations with your students. Ask them about the aspects of your teaching that resonate with them and inquire about the impact you’ve had on their learning journey. Their perspectives can offer valuable insights into the unique qualities that make you an effective educator.

4. Reflect on the experiences and individuals that inspired you to become a teacher. What moments or mentors left a lasting impression on you?

5. Journal to guide understanding the roots of your motivation can provide valuable insights into your educational purpose.

• What initially inspired you to become a teacher? How has that inspiration evolved over the course of your career?

• Consider the cultural and individual diversity present in your classroom. How does your teaching philosophy address the unique needs and backgrounds of your students?

• Think about a challenging situation you’ve encountered as a teacher. How did you navigate it and what did you learn from the experience? How did it influence or challenge your teaching philosophy?

• What do you believe is the primary purpose of education? How does that belief inform your approach to teaching and interacting with students?

If you were to describe your teaching philosophy in three core principles, what would they be? How might they manifest in your daily practice?

Think about a lesson or activity that you found particularly impactful. What elements of that experience do you want to incorporate more intentionally into your teaching philosophy and practice?

As educators, we are entrusted with a sincere responsibility to educate the minds and hearts of the next generation. Rediscovering and embracing our “why” in education can change the way we approach our roles, infusing passion, purpose and resilience into our teaching practice.

By connecting with our purpose, we not only enhance our own professional satisfaction, we more importantly contribute to creating a more vibrant and impactful educational experience for our students.

Ready to revitalise your teaching game? Embark on the journey of self-reflection, unearth your ‘why,’ and then spread the inspiration. Share your purpose with colleagues, and together, let’s unlock the true power of purpose in education!


Related Posts

Fostering Wonderment and Awe in the Classroom

Fostering Wonderment and Awe in the Classroom

Back to School

Back to School

How Artificial Intelligence Augments Biological Intelligence

How Artificial Intelligence Augments Biological Intelligence

Making Learning Real

Making Learning Real

Erin Steel

Erin is a dedicated educator with over 18 years of experience in education. As a Healthy Active Learning Facilitator, she has a strong commitment to promoting physical activity, healthy lifestyles and personal development among teachers and children. Erin’s expertise lies in Health and Physical Education. She works with senior leadership teams, teachers and students to create supportive and inclusive learning environments that empower students to become confident learners and communicators.