Passionate Educators: Fuel for the fire

Plans do not always pan out. An early start first thing on Monday morning should have given me plenty of time to work out an acceptible method of marking large numbers of GoogleDoc submissions; time to work on the plan for a Computing display in the access stairwell; time to organise plumbers, slaters and velux blind engineers (have I invented a new job title here?); and of course time for a coffee or two. These are not just items on my todo list, well ok maybe the DIY ones are, these are actions that demonstrate my passion for my subject and belief in my teaching methods – yep the coffee definitely has its place in my teaching methods! These passions are the reason I left for work 2 hours before the school day begins.

Its not to be. Instead I have time to spend in another way and place. I’m on a bus in Aberdeen, packed with train commuters unable to get further than the station due to a derailment. It is quiet, fairly comfortable, but I’m in no doubt the plan has to change. No point in becoming stressed over this, it is a minor inconvenience. I have gained unexpected time to write down my thoughts and for this I am grateful.

Later in the day my return journey has the potential to be just as chaotic but for the generosity of one businesswoman. She pays for a taxi to take a few of us into Aberdeen to make the train home. I get chatting to another passenger who happens to be in a GLOW group for lifelong learning. She loves using new technology and her office setup sounds like the kind of arrangement that teachers in the education sector would love: cloud servers, up to date software, everything interlinked and working well.

Her enthusiasm and passion for her work and for the use of new technology (she confided that she regularly harangued her technophobe daughter for initiating answerphone tennis when a text or email would be more suitable) inspired me. I love talking to people with a real passion for their work or for the education of their students, regardless of age. It makes me excited about my own work and lifts spirits when you’ve had a rough day. If there is no-one passionate to chat to, I usually listen to snippets of Tribes (Seth Godin). I finished listening to it last week but have kept it handy as his passion and positive attitude is as effective as an early morning coffee in waking up your brain and giving you the feeling that everything is possible.

Unsurprisingly other educators share this passion:

“Leading change tough so your attitude is of paramount importance. Do enough people CARE about education #dpconf10 #yam” (Darcy Moore @darcy1968)

“A teacher who is knowledgeable and enthusiastic about books makes all the diff. in the world. Passion is contagious. #engchat” (@thereadingzone)

“A good #teacher imparts information; a great teacher kindles the passion for learning” (Samadarshini @SamadarshiniOWA) view article at Oneworldacademy

Love this tweet from Umair Haque:

“Radical simplicity, generosity, and humility. Bigger purpose, passion, and perseverance. Want a revolution? Be the revolution.”

I’m not in a managerial position in school, I’m a classroom teacher with big ideas about how to change my subject for the better. I’ve been lucky enough to have the support of line managers to allow me a certain degree of freedom to experiment. However If I or my colleagues did not have passion for our work then nothing would change! There are lots of us out there so the support network is huge. You HAVE to care and have belief in what you are doing to invoke change. YOU have to be the revolution. Don’t wait for someone else to speak up.

I found this video on YouTube made by Jena Passaretti that echoes many of my own beliefs.

So I am thankful for the travel disruption. It gave me another opportunity to reflect and more life experience to share with my students. It gave me a chance to explore and find like-minded people passionate about their work. Despite the unexpected avenues my day has explored I wouldn’t want to change it: Certain types of teachers need stories, fuel to make lessons burn more brightly. My question is: are you one of those teachers and, if so, what ignites your passion?


One thought on “Passionate Educators: Fuel for the fire”

  1. Hey there, I found that you featured my video on your website. Thanks for giving credit. I agree with a lot of what you say too. I don’t mind at all, spread it around! Great to know my voice was heard across the pond!

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