Why Are You Passionate About Teaching?

November 27, 2023
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November 27, 2023 Terkel

Why Are You Passionate About Teaching?

To delve into the heart of what fuels educators, we asked fourteen passionate teachers and professors why they love their profession. From sharing yoga’s healing power to opening new pathways for students, their answers reveal the profound impact and personal fulfillment found in teaching. Let’s explore these diverse perspectives and find out what makes teaching such a rewarding vocation.

  • Making a Difference and Profound Growth
  • Helping Others Find the Right Words
  • Sharing Yoga’s Healing Power
  • Promoting LGBTQ+ Visibility in Academia
  • Connecting and Learning with Students
  • Deepening Knowledge Through Teaching
  • Witnessing Students’ Eureka Moments
  • Teaching as a Path to Learning
  • Changing Lives Through Education
  • Inspiring Students to Open New Doors
  • Upholding the Essential Role of Teachers
  • Finding Joy in Students’ Success
  • Sharing Knowledge and Learning Together
  • Opening New Pathways for Students

Making a Difference and Profound Growth

Every day with students is an opportunity to change a life. Sometimes it is the students who have profound growth and sometimes it is me. I get to be surrounded by a subject that I am passionate about and bring it to life in the classroom.  

I am truly grateful for the rewarding opportunities I have each and every day I teach. Teaching is a profession that can bring joy and truly make a difference in a student’s life.  

Amy Scott, Physical Education, Bloomfield Hills Schools

Helping Others Find the Right Words

Words matter. They turn our experiences into actions. Teaching is about helping others use words to define and shape actions in intentional ways. When someone turns my words into their actions, I have taught well and it is magical for me.

Dave Ulrich, Rensis Likert Professor, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, Partner, The RBL Group

Sharing Yoga’s Healing Power

I’ve seen firsthand the way yoga can heal physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. When I found yoga, it saved me from a life-threatening autoimmune disease and an unhealthy lifestyle. I feel called to share this healing with as many people as I can. That’s why I first became a yoga teacher and yoga therapist—to help others.

Later, I realized I could have an even greater impact by training other yoga therapists, who are then empowered to provide safe, ethical, and practical yoga therapy to their clients. It’s amazing to see our yoga therapy students learn something new, see something work, or reach a milestone with a client. Those moments fuel my passion for teaching yoga therapy.

Brandt PassalacquaBrandt Passalacqua
Founder, Director, and Lead Teacher, Breathing Deeply Yoga Therapy

Promoting LGBTQ+ Visibility in Academia

I am passionate about teaching because, as a trans educator, visibility is everything. The LGBTQ+ subculture has consistently been demoted from being welcome or respected in academia. Queer people belong in education, queer history belongs in schools, and queer frameworks belong in academic methodologies.

Ren Dawe
Education Director, You Can Play

Connecting and Learning with Students

I’m not sure whether I’m passionate about teaching. I’m just passionate, and I also teach. The days when you really connect with your students, or when they open new views in your own thinking, those are tremendous. They are a big part of why I’m an academic, so maybe I am passionate about teaching.

The days when you fail to communicate or engage, though, are terrible. And I hate marking! I guess I hate marking passionately. I’m super happy now that I teach at Hertie School because I’m teaching on the same topics I’m also researching and giving policy advice about, so I know my students are super-prepared to go into their careers, and sometimes their research they bring to the classroom goes into what I give to governments and other actors.

It’s a group adventure. When your former students come up to you and tell you about their terrific jobs relevant to the class they took with you, that also contributes to my enthusiasm.

Joanna BrysonJoanna Bryson
Professor of Ethics and Technology

Deepening Knowledge Through Teaching

Two fundamental aspects contribute to a comprehensive understanding of any topic: teaching it and writing about it. I engage in both practices. The satisfaction derived from teaching stems from the valuable feedback I receive from my students, as well as observing their interactions in both classroom and online settings. It’s akin to subjecting a new idea to rigorous testing, exploring it from various perspectives. Additionally, witnessing the growing confidence in my students as they grasp the material and challenge themselves to explore different facets of the subject is truly rewarding.

Teaching is a dynamic, two-way street where both the instructor and students mutually benefit. The teacher gains deeper knowledge, while the students enhance their confidence and expand their knowledge base. It creates a synergistic win-win situation, fostering a positive and enriching learning environment.

Ahmed BanafaAhmed Banafa
Professor, San Jose State University

Witnessing Students’ Eureka Moments

Why am I passionate about teaching? It’s like asking a fish why it swims—it’s instinctual. While we all possess unique talents, aligning those talents with our career passions is truly rewarding. I can describe my enthusiasm for teaching in three main reasons:

First, the profound satisfaction I receive from witnessing those eureka moments in students. Observing their faces light up with understanding or watching them discover something about themselves that will undoubtedly benefit their future is priceless.

Second, university students, brimming with eagerness and vitality, exude an infectious energy. Lastly, the legacy. Knowing I’ve impacted some students, as evident when they reconnect years later, sharing how my classes influenced their paths or decisions, is rewarding. When an alumnus reaches out, narrating their success story and attributing even a fragment of that success to my teachings, it’s rewarding. This is what energizes me, making teaching not just a job, but my grand passion.

Karyn Elizabeth Suárez
 Karyn Elizabeth Suárez , University Professor and Executive Communication Coach, Advantere Business School

Teaching as a Path to Learning

From the early days of sci-fi, we have evolved into a technology-based world of science facts. Where technology controls were once created with bundles of wires, the snake pit, today we can control through nano, wireless, and unmanned technologies. This is made possible by the fruits of learning. To teach is to continue the path to learn, to trek into a previously unknown. I may be the teacher, but I also am a learner. We link to each other.

Mark KerrinMark Kerrin
Unmanned Technology Professor

Changing Lives Through Education

I help prepare high school students for standardized tests like the SAT. I’ve been teaching students subjects covered by these tests – Math, Reading, Writing, and Science – for over ten years now, and every day brings me fulfillment. Standardized tests are often a significant barrier for students applying to college. Even great students in school can perform poorly on the test.

What motivates me every day is the impact that succeeding on this test can have on their entire life. Continuing education in college can be one of the greatest engines of economic mobility, and to help students get into their dream schools is quite literally changing the trajectory of their lives.

Adam ShlomiAdam Shlomi
Founder, SoFlo Tutors

Inspiring Students to Open New Doors

Teachers hold skeleton keys to any door that exists. We can hold them out, looking old and outdated, and watch students prefer the bright, shiny alternatives to school, or we can let our joy and wonder at the magic of possibilities show and inspire our students to open all the doors they can.

Dr. Lisa Baker
Principal, Pathways Anne Arundel

Upholding the Essential Role of Teachers

Teaching is the profession that provides the source code of civilization. In the context of a modern workforce, it is the occupation that creates all other occupations. Without a strong and stable educator pipeline, our society would fall; skills would dull, knowledge would disappear, and creativity would smolder. The absolute necessity for teachers is what stokes my passion for the industry.

When students enter your learning environment, they entrust you as a guide to their personal journeys and narratives. This unspoken contract is valuable; teachers cannot feel anything but passionate about the growth of their pupils.

Ryan SchaafRyan Schaaf
Associate Professor of Technology, Notre Dame of Maryland University

Finding Joy in Students’ Success

My passion for teaching is rooted in the moments when a struggling student grasps a new concept. In these moments of triumph, I get to see a student achieve the moments that we talk about in DP sessions—those successes that make teaching worth it. These moments drive me to keep helping students through challenges, in search of more success, and then trying to adapt those methods to others who might find the same struggles. It’s about driving forward with determined work to find each student’s success story.

It’s where patience and personalized attention converge with the hope of finding that pivotal point of clarity and confidence. These victories, both small and profound, reinforce my belief in the power of education to change lives.

Dylan CallensDylan Callens
Teacher and Blogger, The Teachers’ Blog

Sharing Knowledge and Learning Together

I love learning and being able to share what I have learned with others. Being able to work with students each day, explore new ideas, and have fun learning with and from them is a very rewarding experience.

Each day brings new opportunities to build relationships, engage in learning in different and meaningful ways, and make an impact on the lives of others. Whether I am working with students or teachers, helping others to dive into new content or new teaching methods is fun and rewarding, and it keeps me motivated and learning with them.

Rachelle Dené PothRachelle Dené Poth
Spanish and Steam Teacher, Consultant, ThriveinEDU LLC

Opening New Pathways for Students

There is nothing more gratifying than when a student says or gives a look of “I get it” or “I had not thought of it in that way before.” Teaching is opening pathways for students that may have never been opened otherwise.

On that same note, I continually learn from and grow because of my students. It is a mutual relationship of learning and sharing. My goal is for students to learn more than I did when I was in college and to hopefully become better overall individuals—personally, professionally, and academically. It is exciting to see where one small spark takes them. I am grateful for my past professors who invested in me and showed grace. I try to emulate that with my students. I hope that college is life-changing for them like it was for me!

Dr. Natalee OliverDr. Natalee Oliver
Assistant Professor, Long-Term Care Administration, McLennan Community College

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