Models for thinking: What excites you?

As a generalist Primary teacher there will be some subjects which excite you and some which don’t. My BEd students today identified enthusiasm as one of the most important qualities of a teacher in any subject, but how do you get enthusiastic about a subject which is not ‘your thing’?

I would suggest you have to consider the question ‘What excites you about teaching this subject?’. You have to think deep, and find a nugget of something which you can latch onto which excites you about the subject, something that is going to give you that enthusiasm to give lessons the energy they deserve. After all, it may not be ‘your thing’, but for some children in your class that subject may be the main thing that gets them excited about learning, and it could be the main thing in their future.

Think deep, find that nugget for every subject that excites you and hold on to it. Here are some nuggets of excitement which my BEd group picked out as things they would hold on to when teaching Science…





3 responses to “Models for thinking: What excites you?”

  1. Jo Badge Avatar

    Great advice, Oliver. I’ve found it hard when using other teacher’s planning during our teaching placements to make the lessons my own and add my own spin to them. When you are working with someone else’s ideas it is often difficult to think originally about how to approach the subject. I usually try and sneak in some ICT 😉 that helps me! I’ve also been somewhat cagey about sharing my academic science expertese with teachers (I would hate anyone to feel intimidated by it, it was a long time ago and doesn’t bear any relation to whether I am any good at TEACHING science), but my mentor brought up my doctorate with the children last week and they were really interested in it. One boy in the class has told me several times that he wants to be a scientist and is obviously proud to be able to share his enthusiasm with me. It made me realise I shouldn’t hide my light under a bushel, if I can inspire one child to shine in science when others may not think it cool to do so, I’ll have acheived something.

    1. oliverquinlan Avatar

      Thanks Jo! Your humility is admirable, but I am sure you will inspire many more children by discussing your scientific past as a teacher. I think it’s really important for children to have role models who help them to see all the possibilities that life offers, and people like yourself with experience pre-teaching are very valuable.

  2. Bernadette Miles Avatar
    Bernadette Miles


    After reading your discussion, it is exactly how I feel. I consider myself to be a very flexible, innovative teacher of Year 6, at the moment.

    In discussion of planning – I hate it! I change my mind all the time as that lesson / objective wasn’t met or it just didn’t satisfy me. My best ideas come to me first thing in the morning and I steamroll them ahead at full speed and they are my best successes. For example, mountain survival – I needed a fun way of getting the children to create their own kit and clearly explain why each item was needed (AFL). So Bam – sunday night, before Monday morning, Apprentice task came into my mind and I ran with it (busily creating all resources Monday morning before schhol). Then intended audience? I asked the manager of a huge outdoor adventure story to come in and judge each product for each team. Best three days work ever!!!

    Even this afternoon – revsing electricty. My most able child frowned at 12,00 when i told her we were doing electricity – I hate children not feeling enthusiastic so straight away I saud we’re creating games with electrical circuits – best afternoon ever.

    Some teachers don’t need the comfort of planning – we need to be able to know what we’re doing is always the right thing and if it don’t work change it all the time. No piece of paper will tie me down!!!!!!!

    Long live creativity

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