CALEB NDISHAKIYE NIRINGIYIMANA
My clergy friend, a teacher, and a university professor once shared with me how of all the things he has attained in life, he is most proud to be called a teacher. This got me asking why he didn’t pride in ‘fancier titles.’ “From a teacher,” he continued, “more than just content is expected-mentorship, parenting and virtuous life”. Unfortunately, being a lecturer limits one only to content and research. In his opinion, we need to shift our view of teaching to PASSION which is the nucleus of right teaching and the focus of this article.
In his book Teaching like a Pirate, Dave Burgess, a prolific writer, teacher and teacher trainer, discusses the three kinds of passion in a teacher’s life, and how much each of them transforms the teacher and students. This article should encourage lecturers and teachers to view themselves as educators which is what these two practices have in common. I am not trying to reduce either of these practices to the other.
Dave Burgess discusses content passion as the love of the subject/content one teaches. It is good, but it doesn’t go far in creating a lifelong impact on students. The professor confessed that research and lecturing tie him only to content. I am premising the concept of lecturing on this, as a content-centred practice.
Burgess also discusses personal passion. This is what you love doing other than the content you teach, be it sports, music, etc. He suggests that this makes content memorable if embedded in teaching. You see this also advances how effectively and memorably the content is delivered. It is also content-centred.
The last kind, professional passion, is the sheer love for being an educator, lecturer or teacher! Burgess argues that an educator with professional passion embraces the full package of teaching. [S]he teaches like a parent, modelling character and virtue. Right teaching is student-focused and not grades/content focused. It is how much you have for students beyond the content-your values, respect for others, and what you stand for.
Let your content be a part of the things you have to give and not all you have! You are bankrupt, even of the content, if all you have to give is the content. Content passion therefore thrives only with these two kinds. It is the most basic, the lowest level of impact on teaching.
This assertion takes teaching further than the classroom walls. Life in class, around campus, and everywhere else you go! Consistency in life is expected of you. I will qualify this idea by merging the professional passion in teaching with an allusion to the technique of the greatest teacher ever, Jesus Christ. He had the knowledge/content: eternal life, heavenly life, trinity, etc. He had enough knowledge even of all nature as he was there in creation. He loved the ones he taught (people). His love for mankind (people-centredness) is what changed the story. He loved them enough to be the least among them and die for them.
The author is a Communications Tutor, Uganda Christian University