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by: Angela Maiers

Passion…a 21st Century Skill? You Decide!

Close your eyes for just a few minutes and recall your favorite teacher of all time – anyone from kindergarten to graduate school. Now, consider what brought that individual to mind. What about that person made a difference to you or those around you?

I love the conversation this exercise ignites. It is always interesting to hear how in some way these wonderful memories follow from the passion of the teacher. It is a reminder that our students may not remember the content of our course,the lessons we slaved hours over, or the books we so carefully selected, but they will they never forget the fire in our belly, the power of our connection, or our desire to make a difference in their life.

We may never know what the magnitude of our impact will be or how the passion we transmit may ripple out into the world. Over the years, I've heard many stories about how a few words or a simple act have changed a students life forever. We may not walk into our classrooms everyday thinking:  "I'm going to change the world today!"? Yet, that is exactly what we do. We DO make a difference. We DO change lives. The question we need to consider is this:

What KIND of difference do we intend to make?

We can choose to make a BIGGER difference by transmitting and sharing our passions with students. Here are some questions to get you started:

  • Do I openly talk about my passions to students, parents, colleagues?
  • Would students characterize me as "passionate"?
  • How would students describe or recognize my passion?
  • Do I write about my passions, making my commitment public and permanent?
  • Did I enable students to explore and discover their passions?
  • What effect do my passions have on students?
  • Once I have learned of a students passion, have I taken steps to nurture and sustain it?
  • Did I help students think about, write about, and share their passion in meaningful and relevant ways?
  • Do students have role models of passionate learning?
  • Do my students recognize the necessity and benefit of discovering and pursuing their passions?

There is no amount of content knowledge, no curriculum powerful enough, no new tools or technologies that have the power to transform teaching and learning in the way that passion does.

You DO make a difference. You make a difference to each and every student, parent, colleague, and staff member you come in contact with. Your passion can be the invite, the energy, and driving force behind the change you wish to make.

Be remarkable, Be re-memorable, BE PASSIONATE!