As you think of your professional career as an educator, where does your passion lie? What is it about teaching and learning that really motivates you and pushes you forward?
Yesterday as I attended and presented at the MassCUE Conference, I found myself thinking about that question a lot. As I moved from learning event to learning event, I wondered about where I am headed in the profession.
It was easy to eliminate some roles, products, and efforts. I wouldn't make a good trade show representative, virtual school teacher, or science coordinator. While I honor what those roles bring to the profession, that's not where my passion lies. What really speaks to me is the detail and coaching involved in teaching young children each day.
As educators from Weston, Massachusetts presented deep learning and teaching efforts related to STEM, I found myself hungry for more of their research, depth of thinking, and connection making--the learning design they used to build the modules were thoughtful, child-centered, and enriching. Similarly as Nancy Carroll introduced us to her students through Skype and discussed her efforts to broaden their world view and knowledge, I was challenged and excited--I know that the work she shared is a next step for my classroom efforts as I want to give my students this gift of using empathy, understanding, poise, and comfort when interacting with the world around them.
Coaching and learning design are my professional calling. I truly enjoy working with both teachers and students in a one-to-one or small group personalized way to develop skill, interest, voice, and choice. As I sat with my colleagues during the keynote and lunch, I was keenly aware of the different gifts we bring to the education table--we're not all the same, and we all have something of value to bring to children. Recognizing, sharing, and supporting each others' gifts, vision, and needs is integral to building strong learning communities. We need to make the time to do this with a common goal of teaching children well.
Challenging yourself to attend conferences, present your craft, connect online, collaborate, share your strengths and challenges, and be open minded to the gifts and challenges of those around you will not only help you to identify your passions, but also help you contribute to teaching children well. Hence, in this post, I encourage you to challenge yourself as you seek your passion. Reach beyond your comfort zone, be open to error and learning, and let these experiences hone your vision and unveil your true passion.