Last week I had the privilege of presenting to 3rd year education students at the University of Notre Dame. These students are our future school teachers,the ones we will entrust our children to for the most part of the day.
The students were both positive and enthusiastic towards my presentation during which I shared our story and also presented the MATES concept and program. MATES being an acronym for Mates Assisting To Engage Socially.
It was apparent that the teaching profession was a vocation for these students, not just a career. It was clear that they really wanted to make a difference in the lives of their future students.
The challenge to all of us in the wider community is therefore – how do we help them to maintain their enthusiasm, how do we nurture and encourage their desire to live their vocation and become the teachers that they want to be and the teachers we expect to be educating our children?
Too often, teachers can feel that they fighting the good fight alone and this can lead to snuffing the spark of enthusiasm and drive for them to be the best they can be and do the best for their students. Over time if hurdles are constantly placed in their path they can feel jaded and think twice before proposing an innovative solution. There may come a time where they think there is no point in trying to innovate.
The reality is that we cannot afford to let these teachers lose their passion and drive; we need to harness and nurture their energy. There is only one way to do this, and that’s to ensure that they receive the adequate resources, training and funding.