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Friday, July 10, 2015

Passion: A Pleasure to Learn and Teach

I truly enjoy learning and teaching.

For example, often when I work on a teaching/learning problem or plan, time flies.

Similarly I wake up many a morning looking forward to starting my day by reading, analyzing, and responding to new information about teaching and learning.

Many, both in the education field and outside of it, respond with the comment, "Aren't you going to take a vacation." They think it's odd to enjoy teaching and learning as much as I do. They wonder why I want to spend the time digging into details related to teaching young children.

I understand, however, that passions grabs us and give us direction. Sometimes we aren't even sure why we do what we do or love what we love with such depth, but we experience and know the urge to do the work, engage in the endeavor, or follow a path is irresistible to us.

My love of teaching and learning has many roots.

First, I truly enjoy creating and making, and I especially love to build with new ideas, research, and thought. The satisfaction comes when the teaching works well. I enjoy seeing the delight in students' smiles and eyes as well as the increased confidence when children are learning in ways that matter. I also know that this learning makes children stronger and more able to succeed as well as find and create happiness in their lives.

Also, there's probably a financial reality at play too. As an educator, I don't have a lot of money. I make a fair salary, but over the years as a parent and teacher, I've had many expenses and little ability to accrue enough money to travel broadly or engage in other types of pursuits that I might enjoy with as much depth. I hope that I'll be able to grasp some of those passions in my later life (time will tell).

And, of course, the Internet plays a role as that has given me access to a world of ideas and the ability to create in the comfort of my home for little cost and lots of gain.

Then, there's the fact that my children are older. They're busy with their own pursuits, and my role in their regard, more often than not, is to be available when needed to troubleshoot a problem, host a dinner, or provide other types of support. In my earlier years, parenting was much more intense with lots of minute-to-minute effort and expectation.

So, rather than become discouraged by the disparaging comments and dearth of support, I'll follow this passion with the support of likeminded educators online and off and the wonderful words of passionate leaders that I found on the Idealist Careers blog:

"I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I've never let it keep me from doing a single think that I wanted to do." - Georgia O'Keefe

"Just don't give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there's love and inspiration, I don't think you can go wrong." - Ella Fitzgerald

"Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing."
- Theodore Roosevelt

"What's money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do." -Bob Dylan

"Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs." -Farrah Gray

"The ones who think they are crazy enough to change the world, are the ones that do." - Steve Jobs

"I would rather die of passion than of boredom." - Vincent van Gogh

"The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why." -Mark Twain

"There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living." - Nelson Mandela

"The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can." - Neil Gaiman

"It's your place in the world; it's your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live." - Mae Jemison

Do you sometimes question your passion? Do you become discouraged when others question the time you spend on efforts you enjoy and find meaningful? How do you sustain the effort and enthusiasm in light of this?

As you consider the points above, I wish you well in your areas of passion and drive. The world needs people with passion because it takes that extra energy and motivation to make good change and do better work.