Teacher, Reawaken Thy GeniusAssociation for Supervision and Curriculum Development
By Thomas Armstrong
The most powerful way to awaken genius in your students has nothing at all to do with lesson plans, classroom environment, learning materials, or instructional time. It has to do with you. And not you as a teacher, but you as a human being. If you wish to spark the hidden light of genius that lives in every one of your students, you must first find and (re)light that spark in yourself.
Teachers need to look at the qualities of genius in their own lives--vitality, joy, humor, creativity, wonder, and more--and ask which of these are burning bright and which have been dimmed by years of neglect.
Ask yourself these questions: How often have you prompted your students to be good readers when you haven't enjoyed reading a book for pleasure in years? Have you encouraged your students to be high achievers in math and science but lack any enthusiasm for the great discoveries being made in those fields or no longer ask the basic wide-eyed questions about life that have inspired the greatest scientists of every age?
It's too easy for teachers to settle into a routine of instruction, collect a paycheck every week, and stop thinking, growing, and learning about how the world works. Yet this is precisely what our students need from us more than anything else--to be curious, awake, and alive to the world!
This kind of enthusiasm is contagious--students catch it from teachers who have it. It's your own genius nature that students will carry away with them and remember you for 30 years from now. It's not likely they'll remember you for the specific content of the curriculum (e.g., "You were the one who taught me to conjugate Latin verbs!"). What will likely have the greatest impact on your students will be your own vitality and creativity ("You helped us create plays about literature--that experience never left me!"), as well as your ability to acknowledge and develop their natural genius qualities ("You were the one who helped me to believe in myself!").