I have been thinking a lot about this lately. It initially triggered from our course evaluations. One of the question on them is “Is your teacher passionate about their subject”. I have always been proud of the fact that students tend to say I am extremely passionate. This in turn led me to contemplate the difference between passion and enthusiasm.
Passion to me is the excitement about your subject. For me, this is why I read so much, I love reading a new book and being able to discuss it with my class or my colleagues. Reading new texts and having these discussions are what fuel my passion for my subject. It is what leads me to constantly research new ways of teaching something, to reflect on how to get better marks and also my passion to see my students succeed. As well as this, Passion goes deeper than just my subject – although it definitely stars there, without English I would be lost. The second part is a passion for teaching. Which is why I have enjoyed working with student teachers and first and second year teachers over the last couple of years. It is important to me to enable them to see teaching not as an isolating job, but as a team sport, something we can help each other with and learn from each
Enthusiasm on the other hand can be faked. To be enthusiasm is the presentation on any given day or lesson, and it changes from one day, or one period to another. This to me is the big difference. Because while at the moment I still have passion for my subject and for teaching (and all the reading I am doing is fueling this). I am lacking enthusiasm. It is the end of the year, I am tired. It is harder to walk in to class and seem enthusiastic. However I know that my students will learn better and remember the lesson more if there is enthusiasm there. Also – for the students I am not sure that the difference between passion and enthusiasm is as obvious. So for now, I will fake it till I make it. And project enthusiasm to enable my lessons to succeed!