Working with educators is my life. It's also my passion. I love watching what turns educators on and I think it is equally important to see what turns educators off. A dear friend (who happens to be the music teacher where I was principal several years ago) shared this ARTICLE and I'd like to steal it for my blog this week (Harry Wong said good teachers "steal" from others). Please read it then join me back here for my regularly scheduled blog. ;)
To say effective teachers enjoy teaching seems like you should say "Duh." after it (if you use that kind of language). Of course they enjoy it, right? Or they wouldn't be doing it, right? Au contraire (I have recently begun taking Spanish through Rosetta Stone to improve my skills, so now I can be tri-lingual, right?). Unfortunately, many people do work they don't enjoy, every single day. I have a huge interest in this topic---should we make a career out of something we are good at doing, or should we make a career out of something we love doing? As a lifelong educator, I am blessed to have done both. I love what I do, and I think I am good at it. But what about those folks who went into a profession, not because they loved it, but because of other reasons. Perhaps law was the family business. Maybe coal mining was what everyone in the town did. Perhaps farming simply was the way of life. Maybe Dad sat you down and said, "You better do something that makes some money if you are going to take care of a family."
Dave and I play a game every once in awhile (yes, this is a family show, wait for it). We call it "What would you be doing if nobody paid you to do it?" I can honestly say I would still want to work with teachers and administrators and students, no matter what. Learning and leading are my passions, not just a way to make a living. Think about what you do. Would you do it if you didn't get paid to do it? How about if you had all the money you needed and you could simply do whatever you wanted? Would you still be doing what you are doing, now?
When I (along with 24 other folks in my cohort at University of West Florida) began my doctoral journey in 2009, we took a class in which Dr. Sherri Zimmerman asked us, "Why do you teach?" I had a tough time putting it into words, but I finally said, "Since I was six years old, I knew this was what I was meant to do. I have to do it." It made me think about all the other paths I could have taken but didn't and all the people in the world who are doing what they do because of necessity, not because of passion.
Here are my questions for the day: In order to be an effective teacher, do you have to love teaching? On the flip side, if you are completely passionate about teaching, will that inherently make you a more effective teacher?
Please take a moment to really think about where you stand on this issue. And then, don't stop there. Please share your thoughts in the comments section. I would really love to know how people feel about this topic!
You might even say I am passionate about it.