Sunday 8 June 2014

How to Teach with Passion

Let me guess...

You are a dedicated teacher. You steal stuff from your home to take to work. You've spent countless late nights and weekends planning, marking and creating resources. You care about your students as if they were your own children.

However challenging behaviour, helicopter parents, lack of funding, time and resources can all take their toll.

It's easy to lose sight of why you signed up in the first place.

You know that truly inspirational teachers exude passion.

But how?

I recently gained some fantastic insights thanks to Dave Burgess' book, "Teach Like A Pirate".

Take Charge of Content 

In his book, Teach Like A Pirate, Dave Burgess recommends focusing on your reasons for becoming a teacher when delivering lesson content.    This is particularly important when dealing with content that you do not find interesting.

One of Dave's reasons for becoming a teacher was to instil in his students a vision of what they can achieve with their lives.  He therefore transforms lessons which would typically focus on factual historical information by including life changing lessons.

For example, when teaching lessons about Rosa Parks, Dave explains how the actions of a solitary ordinary person with strong convictions can change the course of history.

Why did you become a teacher?

Use the answer to this question to ignite your passion and deliver quality, engaging lessons regardless of the merits of the actual content.

"Light Yourself on Fire with Enthusiasm...

...and people will come from miles around just to watch you burn!"

Whilst Dave admits to having next to no interest in birds, a chance encounter with a bird watcher captivated his attention.  Why?  The bird watcher was enthusiastic.

This explains why I have found myself attentively watching Bear Grylls!  I couldn't care less which  bugs are edible.  Furthermore, I have absolutely no plans to find myself marooned on a desert island.   However, Bear Grylls could not be more enthusiastic about survival techniques and that captivates my attention.

Deliver your lessons with enthusiasm and your students will find you completely engaging.

Use Your Interests To Your Advantage

Magic, sports, coaching, entrepreneurship, marketing and self improvement are all included in Dave's list of personal passions.  He strives to find as many ways as possible to incorporate these passions into lessons.

By doing this, Dave is teaching from an area of strength and allowing his students to experience his unique skill set.

What are you passionate about?  Look for opportunities to incorporate your personal passion into lessons to deliver engaging and memorable content.

"Make the most of yourself... for that is all there is of you" (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Finally, Dave recommends never losing sight of your uniqueness and individuality.  Whilst some teachers might be content to robotically teach directly from curriculum planners set yourself apart to become the best teacher that you can be.

"Light yourself on fire with passion...and don't worry if it's not a controlled burn." (Dave Burgess).

Interested in Learning More?

Andrea from "Reading Toward the Stars!" has written an article focusing on the next chapter of Teach Like a Pirate which discusses "Immersion".  You can access Andrea's article by clicking the image below.

I also highly recommend checking out Dave's book which is available here on amazon.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on passion.  Please post your comments below.

Thanks for reading!

DISCLAIMER:  The views expressed above are entirely my own.  I did NOT receive any financial compensation for writing this article.

HOW TO TEACH WITH PASSION IMAGE CREDITS: image courtesy of, fonts by KG Fonts


  1. Thank you for sharing! I can feel your passion and enthusiasm for what you do and for this amazing book! I would highly recommend this read for any PD regarding student engagement and personal reflection!

    1. Thanks Tara,

      I've really enjoyed reading "Teach Like A Pirate" - Dave shares some fabulous insights!

      Thanks for stopping by,

      OkinawanGirl Lisa

  2. Hi Lisa! Thanks so much for joining the blog study of #tlap. I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on the Passion chapter and look forward to seeing what you think of the rest!

    1. Dave,

      I'm so pleased you like it! Thank you so much for stopping by - your book has been an inspiration!

      Warm wishes,

      OkinawanGirl Lisa

  3. Well, I am headed to the book store today with my gift certificate from a student. Thank you for post ing the link to your article. I will be reading and following along. I absolutely agree that passion and enthusiasm are the key. In fact my next blog post was going to be about something similar. On our last day of school several students referenced to me about different personal stories that I had told them. It happened 4 or 5 times that day, and they all remembered different ones that I had told months ago. It really hit me, that interjecting those little stories about my cats, my son, my brother or myself at their age, was what made our connection so solid. Thank you for this book recommendation, this was exactly the spark that I was looking for. I would love to follow your discussions too. Karen

    1. Karen,

      I'm so pleased to read this! Thank you for sharing - it means a lot.

      I'm sure you will get a lot from the book, I've really enjoyed reading it and it has been immensely useful to me.

      Warm wishes,

      OkinawanGirl Lisa