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How important a role do you believe Passion plays as an educator?

As a teacher/educator I am often confronted by up and coming University students who are completing their Education degrees and are working to becoming teachers. But when asked a seemingly simple question of "why", they are left stumped.
How big a role do you believe passion plays when training, and first starting out, and then of course in sustaining Education as your life long career?

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    Mar 13 2012: It seems that a good teacher is someone who understands the learning process and has a passion for both learning themselves and the learning experience of those they "teach". I good teacher loves to see "learning " happening in the classroom by his/her students and that is the focus of how they facilitate and manage the classroom experience. In that sense, passion goes way beyond interest, and touches into the very need for our exploration of ourselves and the world around us. "Passion" is more related to feelings and the "gut feeling" or need for the creative experience, the awareness of the driving instinctual needs; and the "interest" is the appetite of the mental processes sparked for the specific subject matter. Both passion and interest must be present and fostered in a true learning environment and the teacher must have them both themselves if the classroom experience is to reflect them both and be truly relevant, meaningful, and authentic.

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