Ned Hallowell invites us to a weekend with him and Rob Himburg (Click here for more information on the ADHD Enrichment Weekend.) and promises we will: 1) have fun, 2) learn a ton!, and 3) connect and feel inspired! I am sure it’s true, not because I know the teachers that well, but because someone who promises that, will probably deliver.
What if all teachers sent out a note to their students every Sunday afternoon promising that their agenda for next week will be fun, connecting, inspirational and educational? Most teachers I have known personally dedicate some of their weekend to making sure this will be true; they just never take credit for this commitment.
If they were to promise connection, inspiration, learning and fun, would they be cutting back on their responsibility to teach students academics? Of course not. Everyone knows what school is all about. Everyone knows what the elementary and middle school curriculum is, and what it means to have mastered “the basics.” Arguments about these items are akin to discussing whether to serve dinner with crockery or fine china when there is no food on the table.
Enthusiasm is a requirement for teachers. A teacher’s main reward comes when joy, learning, and connecting actually happen. An important but secondary reward is the palpable enthusiasm of the students and their parents, who sometimes express gratitude. All are fed by the thrilling experience of learning and the joy of connecting with other people and ideas. When teachers find they can’t find this, they quit teaching.
I feel like showing up for the Hallowell/Rob Himburg class not because I am passionate about ADHD, but because I love learning, connecting and feeling inspired. Don’t you? Don’t your children? What if all teachers were held accountable for that? That was always my chief criterion when evaluating teachers and prospective teachers, because when the genius is engaged, everything else will fall into place—or already has. Teaching is a calling, and enthousiasmos means “imbued with the divine.”