Passion. It’s what drives people to do the extreme, whether it’s beautiful, ugly, funny, romantic, violent, or crazy. Passion is defined as “a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something.” Teachers are passionate people. What gets us through the day? It’s our passionate desires to ignite the fuse of learning within our students, provide opportunities to achieve long-term success for the families in our communities, and create safe environments in which children can excel. Are we truly zealous for the children?
Once upon a time, one of my principals told me that I am a very passionate person. I was not impressed with that observation—I felt like it was a polite way to say I’m an outspoken pain in the butt. Throughout the years I started tapping into what being a passionate teacher was—I was firmly convicted to be the best teacher possible for my students. As Salvador Dali stated, "Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings." Yet after this school year, I didn’t feel so zealous. I lost the “fire in my belly” for something meaningful in my daily life in school. Why bother teaching if you’re ho-hum about it? It will kick you in the teeth and leave you down in the gutter of despair. I knew I needed to get my vigor back in order to successfully impact students’ lives. What is the meaning of a purposeless mindset towards teaching?
We’ve had a month off from school; it’s definitely time to refuel our educator batteries. We need to reevaluate what provides the fuel for our drive as educators. What gets us going each day during the school year?
I have taken some time to reflect on what makes me a passionate teacher. What do I deeply care about for my students? It’s time to choose a few to actively pursue. Here is my list (in random order):
- Providing an abundance of purposeful, intensive opportunities for students to break the cycle of poverty and successfully compete with peers to achieve success
- Breaking the cycle of child abuse which is protected by the bureaucracy of the government
- Be a safe place for children of illegal immigrants
- Hands-on learning
- School gardens
- Equal attitudes from all investors (politicians, administrators, educators, students, parents) about the ability of Title 1 schools to succeed
- Purposeful professional developments which provide teachers with valuable tools and takeaways
- Inspiring principals
- Teachers are ALL leaders
- Elimination of standardized testing and increased use of portfolio/ reflection assessments
So now it’s time for the next step…… my actions. I have a great list, but it’s all theory until I put it into practice. Now it's time for me to determine my future actions of this next school year to ensure I am attaining one of these goals. Passion is a wasted emotion if not acted upon. Let’s inspire our students with our fiery passion to motivate change in our classroom, school, district, or nationwide educational system. What will you motivate change to impact your students this upcoming school year?