Is learning fun for you, teacher?

Olivia Odileke

Olivia Odileke is an Engagement Strategist whose mission is to transform education by inspiring a culture of fearless educators who use simple EdTech tools to inspire learning and teaching. She offers the Create Engaging Lessons with Nearpod online course for any educator who wants to inspire and create interactive learning experiences.

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Over the weekend, my family of five went to an Orlando theme park, and I decided we should really enjoy ourselves by purchasing an Unlimited Quick Queue pass. It was so worth the money! We rode every ride in the park at least twice, but one ride required us to ride down a rapidly flowing river, which quenched us with water. It was incredible that my two-year-old was laughing as well. We rode the Infinity Falls ride four times in one day—BEST DAY EVER for FAMILY FUN in the Sun! The entire experience was epic, full of energizing emotions and, most importantly, lots of smiles. What made this ride so cool was that the whole family could experience it together, the motions were on point, and the water was the icing on the cake. It had been a while since I had that type of fun, and I will never forget it.

That experience made me wonder whether educators are having as much fun learning as they desire students to have. I started thinking about how learning can be fun for educational professionals. The question every educator needs to answer is: why are you learning? Are you learning to meet PD requirements for your certification? Or because your administration requires you to attend PD development trainings? Or because you have been designated as a teacher in need of improvement? If you said yes to any of those questions, then learning may not be fun for you!

Let’s discuss some ways we can make learning fun for you again!

1. Seek out virtual educational conferences that focus on a topic you want to learn about or strengthen your instructional pedagogy

Attending educational conferences provided the inspiration I needed to find joy in the work I was doing by wanting to apply the strategies I learned from other educational professionals. Attending an experiential session that gives you something to think about and something new to try in your classroom is the best way to have fun while learning. It starts to be contagious! Oftentimes, the passion I saw in other educators made me view learning in a new way. Never underestimate the power of passionate association to fuel your desire to do and be more.

2. Paying for Professional Development is a reason to find enjoyment in it more

If I had not purchased the Unlimited Quick Queue pass, I would have missed some of the rides due to long and overcrowded lines. However, being treated like a VIP made the experience even more enjoyable for me. If your school or district does not offer the type of PD that you feel will make you a more effective teacher, then you need to seek out paid online courses, webinars, or in person workshops so that you have a more enjoyable learning experience.

3. Find instructional strategies that spark your interest!

Read about the different approaches others have taken to effectively implement that strategy and then innovate the strategy in your class. Say to yourself, “I did that, so what else am I capable of doing?”

4. Create a Professional Development that is fun and engaging for your colleagues that inspires them to want to learn and have fun in the process

Students learn the best when they are teaching the content to others. You may learn better and find more enjoyment when you think of redesigning that PD to increase your peers' engagement and laughter. Nothing is more fun than planning an awesome experience for our friends. Transfer that same energy in planning a meaningful and purposeful learning experience for your fellow educators.

5. Meditate on the end results of the learning

See yourself apply the new instructional method, new tech tool, or new behavior approach and see the enjoyment and increased engagement that will come from your students. Say to yourself, “every time I have fun learning, it will become easier for me to transfer this love to my students to create a contagious effect.” Your model sets the tone for students. If you are genuinely interested in being a lifelong learner who derives enjoyment from developing your thinking skills, you will create neural connections that expand to the students you teach and inspire each day.

So, how will you respond to the question of whether or not learning is enjoyable for you? Our future depends on how we respond to that question. Let’s start within and grow a generation of students who see fun and enjoyment from learning rigorous standards and develop perseverance for life while laughing through the challenges.

You were made to have fun learning!

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