Passion. I associate passion with the color red for its vibrant depth and closeness to the heart. It is the lifeblood that feeds energy, creativity, enthusiasm and commitment. Passion is intensity of purpose. It is adrenaline. It is BELIEF.
Though this is a challenging time to be an educator, that climate creates opportunities for teachers to rise to the challenge. Some teachers rise more quickly than others. Some rise up to lead in a crisis-free climate, some need crisis to push them into action, while others can look crisis in the face and walk away seemingly unaffected, unmoved. Each of those educators–the eager, the panicked, and the passive–may all be passionate.
We teach our students to be tolerant of differences, to appreciate that people come from different backgrounds and practice different customs and that diversity makes life richer, but do educators appreciate their own differences?
Educators demonstrate their passions about teaching in myriad ways. Some internalize it only to see it burst forth in the form of inspired and connected classroom dialogue. Some find a venue for their teaching passions on the football field or the volleyball court. Some wax effusive about new ideas and approaches. Still others engage in vision building, seeing the school as a whole and imagining what could be, then moving on to see that the vision is realized.
We must adjust our perceptions of passion and see that it may run in us like a quiet and deep river or flail about like the chop on a lake on a windy day. If we believe in our collective passion, adjust to the way we each express it, and use that energy to move our schools forward to benefit our students and center our community, then we can overcome any obstacle that lay in front of us.
Don’t shake your finger at the quiet teacher, and don’t shake your head at the vocal one. Instead, connect! Talk! Ask! Then LISTEN. It is as valuable that we know our colleagues–their strengths, their challenges, and their passions–as it is important for us to know our students.
I challenge education leaders to provide opportunities for faculty members to share professional passions. Find a way to facilitate conversations between teachers that will help them to really see each other, to bond, and to unify. While the process may be bumpy, and it surely will include a few rough patches, in the end, it will empower and energize.
“Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion” ~George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel