I told myself, a few others, and wrote my last blog post promising not to tweet or write about education for one month. Guess what? I failed.
I will say this though, I have given myself some time to reflect. I’ve determined I no longer desire to be a defined as a passionate educator. No, that doesn’t mean I’m quitting. Many in education exclaim for the desire for schools to be filled with passionate teachers, but lately I’ve wondered what that really means? According to Webster’s dictionary the word ‘passion’ is defined as “a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something” or “a strong feeling (such as anger) that causes you to act in a dangerous way.” Passion, in other words is a temporary emotion, even a dangerous one. In the end, passion within the constraints of the definition doesn’t last.
A passionate teacher is at the whimsy of his or her feelings. One day, feeling on top of the world, and the next, weary and withdrawn. What does this leave for students and others? Confusion. What does this word, if a teacher has been labeled as ‘passionate’ mean for his or her long term health–disappointment. No one can maintain something that by its very definition is meant to be short term.
Therefore, I am urging that we exchange ‘passion’ for ‘love’. A loving teacher or teacher who loves his calling is defined by Webster’s dictionary as “an unselfish loyalty and benevolent concern for the good of another; a brotherly concern.” Much of what we do in education requires service to others (unselfishness). It also requires loyalty (consistent dedication). There are days in the field that are awesome and clicking just right, and there are others that are difficult and frustrating. However–with love as our guide, we know this and have patience with the process. We stay true to our work, ourselves, and our colleagues because love is enduring through the storms and the celebrations. In our love for education we watch out for one another with brotherly concern. This means it’s not all about us. It’s about all of us working toward unified goals, together for the benefit of the students in our charge.
Maybe it’s less about the passion for our content, and more about the love for our students. By striving for love we live out spiritual fruits such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control. Those are elements of love that last and make a true impact in the classroom.
I’ve also spent about three weeks studying Coach John Wooden, who passed in 2010. His words of wisdom on teaching and coaching has brought peace to my heart and inspiration for the upcoming year. I would highly recommend listening to him, and gaining confidence from his experiences.
Teaching will always be a work of the heart. It’s important to love and care for ourselves, our family, our students, and each other. In the end, it’s about love.