On teaching fashion: How teachers stay inspired

Today’s post is for all teachers, lecturers and professors because I want to ask everyone: How do you stay inspired?


Image source here.

When we teach, we have to give, share, transfer knowledge, encourrage, praise and nurture. My personal experience has taught me, that this can only happen when you have enough material, knowledge and inspiration yourself in the first place. But how do you stay inspired? What I mean is the unique feeling of inspiration and how to keep it alive. There is an interesting blog article written by by Alex Case for TEFL.net which I want to loosely include together with my own recommendations:

9 ways to stay motivated to teach

1. Don’t do “Groundhog Day”
If every month, term or semester feels like “groundhog day” change the content for the coming term. It might mean more preparation work but the material will be new and improved when you start teaching it.


Image source here.

2. Try “show-n-tell”
Bring something to class that you can show and then connect a theoretical lecture to it. Personally, I bring things like Japanese Kimonos or antique men’s suits from my personal collection to teach about the history and sociology of dress. Students get to feel the material and even dress up

3. Break the routine with documentaries, movies, museum visits
To motivate yourself and your students, why not break the routine once in a while and take your students to a museum and perhaps an exhibition which you have not seen before? Or perhaps there is an interessting documentary (or relevant film) which can be watched in class and be part of a lively discussion?


Image source here.

4. Learn something about/ from your students
When your students voice their ideas in class, engage in projects or come to personal tutorials you can learn so much from them. Keep your mind open for this and it will surely inspire you.

5. Read
Any books, newspapers or blogs can be a great inspiration for class! I read Business of Fashion every day on my mobile phone and if I spot an interesting article then I print it out and discuss it in class.

6. Write
Even writing a diary on how your teaching is going can make it more interesting and show you ways out of whatever hole you in. It’s also a great way to compare progress and ideas from term to term.

7. Go to workshops
As useful, convenient and (sometimes) cheap as reading and writing are, if you want a sense of perspective and a little push, there is no substitute for hearing other people talk about your area of specialism. If your temporary drop in motivation means you are likely to lack the energy for a full blown course, a workshop or two might just give you the pep you need.

8. Give workshops
As teachers, most of us learn more from teaching than studying and live off the attention of standing up there at the front and getting approval, so giving workshops can be an even better way of coming up with new ideas than going to someone else’s. An easy start is to give a 30 to 50 minute workshop on practical teaching ideas in your own institution.

9. Take a break
Like sports training or anything else, sometimes a bit of a break is what you need to get the best out of yourself. If you can’t afford to take extra time off or think a break on your CV will set your career back, you can still do short breaks out of town, go visit a relative or experience something new during annual leave. If that is not a possibility, a day at the spa or gym might do the trick. However, your break might just as well be lazy time in your pyjamas and in bed, doing absolutely nothing and finding it a wonderful break!

lazy day reading

Image source here.

So my question to you fashion teachers is, of course: How do you stay inspired? Where do you find the time and sources that motivate you? Do you incorporate anything into class-time to keep you going? Do you stick to a routine or mix it up? I would love to hear from you!




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  • Frank Perri March 25, 2016 06.03 am

    Thanks for posting this! These are some great tips and it’s fantastic that you’re willing to go the extra mile to keep students engaged.

    These tips are especially important now more than ever since with the advent of the internet and constant bombardment from all angles by technology, students have shorter attention spans and need to be constantly stimulated, sadly, so the variety of activities and constant engagement will help to keep them focused.

  • Jenny Kinnley March 29, 2016 03.43 am

    These tips for teacher are essential and important, but maybe it’s quite difficult to use when you teach online. I think you’re not close enough with your students in internet. They want to get skills and experience faster, so how can online tutor attract student to own useful methods of teaching?

  • Olga April 04, 2016 02.29 pm

    Hi Jenny! Well my suggestions are more for the teachers and how we can stay inspired. So even if you are giving on-line tutorials, you can still do something for yourself. If you are an inspired teacher, then even your on-line courses will benefit!


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