On Friday, January 11th, I will be presenting my workshop, Inspiring Your Students to Work Toward Excellence, at Clemson University for over 35 Clemson faculty.  What a wonderful way to kick off the new semester!  As I started to “crockpot” my preparation for this workshop, an important and difficult question kept coming up in my mind, a question all teachers ask themselves at one point or another:

How can I inspire my students to work toward excellence? 

After all, today’s students are not the easiest to inspire!

What I discovered are 3 ways to inspire your students.

1.  Inspire Yourself First.  I firmly believe that I cannot inspire my students to work toward excellence if I am not inspired to do so first.  I have to lead by example.  I cannot teach what I don’t know, and cannot pass on to them any kind of inspiration if I am not inspired myself.  How do you inspire yourself?  Write down your goals, your game plan for achieving them, and a deadline for completion.  Read books on excellence, leadership, success, and personal growth.  Subscribe to SUCCESS Magazine (www.success.com), attend conferences in your field,watch TED videos (www.ted.com), and listen to audio CDs by success experts.

Listen to a short audio clip of my interview with SUCCESS Magazine publisher Darren Hardy on “Developing Winning Habits” here:

Darren Hardy and Paul Buyer Interview Clip

2.  Share Your Enthusiasm.  Don’t be afraid to share your enthusiasm about excellence with your students.  Teach them values, life lessons, and winning habits that will help them succeed in school and in life.  Go beyond your course content – way beyond, and teach the person, not the subject.  Light a fire under your students, show them possibilities, and give them ownership.  Help them discover their gifts and talents and what they are passionate about.

3.  Don’t Accept Mediocrity.  I have always been told that if something is unacceptable, don’t accept it.  Instead, expect excellence.  Set the bar high.  Develop an atmosphere, climate, and culture where you are getting the best out of your people.  Students are bright and are fully capable of performing at a higher level than they choose sometimes.   Do whatever you can to motivate them to reach their full potential.