Is the lack of passion in your students getting you down?
In one of the cosmetology instructor Facebook groups I follow, a newer educator posted the challenge she frequently runs into, and that is today’s students seem to have a lack of passion for the industry.
Students start school because it seems like fun, or it is something to do, and then they get there and realize it is work. This is not a new challenge with this generation of students. It’s something we have all faced over the years.
We like to blame admissions for the students they enroll, but remember, the admissions department is simply doing their job of enrolling students and meeting their goals. It’s not up to them to judge which students will be the best candidates for the industry. Their job is to enroll, and then we take it from there.
It is now the educator’s responsibility to get students excited about the industry.
And the question is, can you teach passion?
I’m not sure there is an easy answer to that question.
Let’s start by saying that unfortunately, some of the people who enroll will not be suited and will not make it. That is why the accrediting agencies don’t require a 100% completion for schools. But what about the students who stay?
What we need to understand is that not all students are going to get excited about the same things that excite us. There will be some students who are just like you. And we love the enthusiasm, and we wonder why all the students can’t be like that!
But the reality is some students may not feel excited about what you get excited about. They roll their eyes when you give them a client. They don’t get excited as you are talking about the interesting world of properties of the hair and scalp.
I’ll be honest…I was that student. I was not passionate about the beauty industry. I had no desire to take clients. My parents owned the school, and I agreed to help them by doing admissions and financial aid tasks. And somewhere along the way, they convinced me to go to school and get a license because it would give me more value in the industry. And 30 years later, they were right.
But at the time, I was not passionate about it. I wasn’t a big fan of doing hair. I took the clients I needed to. I did services that were required. But I was never excited about it. I can guarantee you that there was most likely an eye roll or two when I was handed a ticket for a client. I simply had no desire to stand in a salon day in and day out doing hair.
But fortunately for me, I had people around me who recognized that the salon was not the only path for me to pursue. They helped me find what I was good at—I was good at speaking. I was good at organizing. I was good at creating schedules and curriculum. I had a knack for coming up with fun things to do in the classroom. I found my passion in the school business and in teaching educators.
My training in school has helped me tremendously in pursuing that career. I’ve had many doors open because of that initial training and my license. But it was never the hair that excited me, it was the business of education.
So, an answer to my question above, can you teach passion?
My answer is no. You can’t teach students to find YOUR passion. But what you can do is help the students find THEIR passion.
You job as an educator is to help students discover their passion. It may not come right away. You may have to suffer through a lot of eye rolls. But stick with them.
Introduce students to different opportunities in the business:
- Developing a product line
- Platform work
- Continuing education
- Guest speaker
Show them the great big world that can be opened to them in this industry. Help them see that it all starts with completing school and getting that license. That means taking clients, taking services that we aren’t crazy about, sitting in on theory classes that they don’t find much interest in. They must finish school to get to the next step.
And the truth is, they may not really tie into their passion until they are out of your school and in the workforce. And that is OK. Your job is to light their fuse. It may be a long, slow-burning fuse, but it will eventually spark. You may not be there when it does, but your job is to give them that foundation that allows them to eventually get there!