15. Be enthusiastic, enjoy your teaching, and have fun!

Indigenous teaching is often deeply satisfying but the academics interviewed do admit that it has its challenges. Those challenges may include the academic under-preparedness of some students; the initial attitudes and assumptions of others; and the serious, sometimes confronting nature of the subject matter.

Given all this, it is important that you remember to enjoy your teaching, and try to make sure the students do too. Using humour and having fun come naturally to some teachers. For some others, humour is a conscious strategy adopted to defuse classroom tensions and emotions.

Enthusiasm for your subject, as these teachers show, is known to be a characteristic of good teaching everywhere. Combining a passion for your subject with a positive and satisfying learning experience for students is one of the keys to success in Indigenous teaching - and all teaching.

15.1 'I get satisfaction out of my students. They teach me heaps. I love them. Sometimes you think you'll have a fight again - and then you'll get a semester which is bliss - where they're eating it up.'(Newcastle)

15.2 'For me, learning should be fun!' (Wollongong)

15.3 'I think my classes are pretty fun, so I hope they get enjoyment out of it. I hope I give them practical strategies. There's no handbook for Indigenous teaching so I try to give them the tools. So even if it's just a Welcome to Country that they have to organise, I give them links …The students seem happy enough.' (Newcastle)

15.4 'Another strategy is to use humour. With the Education students we often laugh and joke in class.' (Sydney)

15.5 'I think they have fun - we do role plays, field trips…I've never had anyone say it was boring - and at the end they feel engaged. ' (Macquarie)

15.6 'I'm evangelical (though it's partly acting). I'm enthusiastic about learning. I want them to learn to want to learn. I don't want them to be over-awed by everything there is to learn at uni, but I do show them what's there. If they're in a school I want them to be passionate too. There's no point being a teacher if you're not.' (Sydney)

15.7 'I love teaching… it is such a fascinating area. When I am well prepared for a class I go in feeling really excited - knowing what I am going to share with the students.' (UNSW)


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