I was recently in Rochester, NY for a few days and had the opportunity to visit Susan B. Anthony House. With no idea who Susan B. Anthony was, except that she was associated with campaigning for the right of woman to vote in the U.S., I didn’t know what to expect from the expedition. We were there for an hour and I emerged from this three story wooden house with a new hero – Susan B. Anthony. It’s an incredible story of strength, courage and resilience. Our guide was an amazing person as well, drawing us into the story as we walked the wooden floors, retelling tales in magnificent detail, with a passion that was infectious.
I had been running a teacher-training workshop at the time and we had been exploring ways to engage students through service learning opportunities. Listening to the guide in this house so full of history, I was reminded that the love of the subject matter by the teacher is an important ingredient. It was a fortunate moment to reflect on how powerful a teacher’s enthusiasm can be in helping to engage a student. It certainly worked on me. The question is, how can we foster enthusiasm in the classroom? A good question as we continue to search for ways to deepen levels of engagement in the learning process in our schools.