Depending on who you listen to, this is a really great time to be an educator or a really bad time to be one. On one side you have those that would have you believe our education system is broken, un-fixable, so far beyond repair that they reach at straws trying to find something that will bring us back from the brink of disaster. On the other, there are those that know there is greatness out there, it just isn’t seen in the mainstream. There are lots of voices, each trying to be louder than the last, proclaiming that they have the right idea.
I don’t really have any answers. Lately, I have been struggling with my thoughts on reform and education, wondering what is right and who to listen to. But through all my reading, conversations and thoughts, one thing is, and will remain clear for me. No matter what, the key to any type of change or reform is passion.
Through the use of social media I have become connected to thousands of educators from all parts of the world. Each and every day these dedicated people walk into a classroom, office, workshop, where ever and do the same thing day in and day out. They want what is best for kids and will do everything in their power to do so.
I could get real cheesy and give you a Websters Definition of passion, or provide some You Tube video of what I think passion is. But honestly you know what passion is. If you would work with kids or in education in any way you know what passion looks like, or at least you should.
Passion is getting up everyday and walking into a room of students, not knowing who will come in hungry, or who's parent was arrested last night or who hasn’t had a place to sleep for the past week, but through it all providing the best learning experience for each kid.
Passion is arriving in the classroom before the sun rises and leaving after the sun sets to plan a lesson, set up a lab or take part in professional development, to provide the best learning experience for each kid.
Passion is spending thousands of dollars out of pocket each year on the supplies we know kids need but districts have decided to cut in their never ending search to trim budgets all in an effort to provide the best learning experience for each kid.
Passion is knowing inside that you really work 13 months a year, even though some might say you are lucky you have “summers off,” because you know what you learn and do in your free time helps provide the best learning experience for each kid.
Passion is working and learning with kids.
If I have learned one thing over the past few years in education is that change is not something that happens fast. And I believe it shouldn’t. A lot times schools are reactive instead of proactive and that just sets us up for disaster. We shouldn’t jump on bandwagons and change things as often as we change, well, you know the rest of that. Nor should we move at a snails pace, forming committee after committee to make mundane decisions.
Yes, there are things that are wrong. But are they as bleak as some in Washington or at the movies would have us believe? I don’t think so. I see lots of great things in schools each day. And the one thing that is consistent everywhere I go and with everyone I talk to is that they have passion.