In a recent survey of participants in Cengage Learning’s Student Case Study program, we asked college students: “Please think of the best instructor you have had since being in college. What made them the best in your mind?” One student wrote: “This instructor was not just a teacher, but an EDUCATOR, inspiring students to engage and contemplate, not just try to absorb.”

In this individual’s mind, the instructor’s ability to inspire played a large role in the students’ ability to truly become engaged in the course and gain a deeper understanding of the course material. The instructor’s enthusiasm helped the students gain enthusiasm as well.

If you’re feeling uninspired yourself, find ways to increase your own enthusiasm. Look for a professional development seminar, event, or course that gives you a new passion for your role as an instructor. You could also choose an activity that has no direct connection to your day-to-day teaching responsibilities. In fact, stepping back and taking the time to read for pleasure, build some new cooking techniques, or hike in your favorite local nature spot can bring about a change in perspective that provides just the boost you need to engage yourself back in the teaching process.

On another hand, you may want to hone your ability to help students really see and understand the importance of what you’re teaching, and then enthusiastically apply what they’ve learned to their everyday lives. If that’s true for you, read some suggestions for increasing your ability to influence others in positive, pro-social ways.

Share what inspires you

This student’s remarks about a favorite instructor inspired us to ask you about inspiration as well. How do you inspire students? What inspires you? Share your thoughts below… we want to hear from you!