Passion or Passive?

    Sometimes in education, there are shifts in what we have done and what we need to do, to support our students.  There are a lot of things that will never go away in education (like the importance of relationships in learning), but there are shifts in our world that mean education will have to a) be a part of the shift, b) lead the shift, or c) be left behind.
    Will Richardson talks about the “narratives” that are important to understand where we are headed in our schools:
    I know the future has always been uncertain, but I also know that because of the speed at which change is occurring, it’s more important than ever to figure out “where we are going.” And I think our focus now has to be grounded in what new potentials and opportunities the modern world of networks and connections allow us to imagine. To echo David Warlick from many years back, what is that new story that we want to tell, not just about education in general, but about our individual schools as well? What is it that we aspire to become? What are the opportunities do our learners now have that didn’t exist before that must guide our conversations moving forward?
    These conversations are crucial but they also can make people feel uncomfortable.  As most educators have spent the majority of their lives in schools (as either students or teachers), it is hard to shift mindsets to what we know to what can be. Change can be hard when are experiences are so set.
    Recently having a conversation with someone on these shifts, I could feel how uncomfortable they were with what I was saying.  My feeling was that they felt that I was implying was that what they were doing now wasn’t working for their students (which was never my intent).  The passion from this person was evident, although they did not necessarily agree with what I was saying.
    As I was talking to a leader that I have a tremendous amount of respect for, she had said, “It is better that this person had passion and got worked up thinking about their teaching, then simply being someone who nods their head and agrees, to then go on and do nothing different.”  My gut feeling about this educator that wore their heart on their sleeve is that they thought a lot about the conversation, in a deep manner.  It might have kept them up at night.  But if it did, that says they were thinking about it and were wrapping their head around those ideas.
    A quote that I have been sharing often is the following:
    “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
    I am inspired by those educators that are passionate about what they do and why they do it, even when we don’t agree. If we both share a love and passion for those we serve, we will always find a better way together.


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