Tonight I joined over 500 participants in an online presentation featuring Sir Ken Robinson and hosted by Steve Hargadon at http://learncentral.org. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Sir Ken Robinson's work I recommend that you start here, but for the sake of brevity his message is about passion.
I had been eagerly anticipating this event which I learned about through the Infinite Thinking Machine blog about a week ago. I even spent the hours leading up to this evening's event by following and participating in the #edchat discussion taking place in Twitter which was devoted Sir Robinson's theme of passion in education. Very geeky, I know.
For the record. I did not set out to be an educator. As a result, I'm not officially considered one. I spent the entirety of my University experience taking literature courses, art classes, and creative writing workshops with the understanding that I was going to be a poet and an artist, or at the very least a Bohemian barrista in some funky underground coffee house. That was my passion. Then I graduated.
I have spent just about every day since working with youth in settings ranging from homeless shelters and Boys and Girls Clubs to core academic settings working as a classroom aid and my current position as a technology integration consultant. This is my passion now. Working with students and teachers using technology to learn and share and hopefully nurture our passions together.
I refer to myself as an edtech accident. But there are no accidents - I just can't get over my surprise that this is what I love to do. I love putting off my homework (to become a real teacher) so that I can join a lot of passionate educators who also dig the funny box you're staring at right now in a conversation that is complex, incomplete, and capable of transforming our educational system. It is not if, it is when. Which is why there is fear.
Passionate people are scary. We take risks. We ask difficult questions. We are not afraid to answer them.
We also make mistakes, get carried away, or unfairly dismiss the misgivings and struggles of others. We do not always inspire others with our passion, believe me!
I must also cultivate compassion. I cannot allow my passion to close me off to other opinions or opportunities. But neither should I stifle the kinetic and creative energy that I've found or found me - I'm not sure which. I'm not sure that it matters.
Tomorrow I will ask my students (and colleagues) as they come into our building about their passions as a part of my ATA Question of the Day. I'll let them answer on netbooks or their cell phones, ask others face to face, and give those who aren't in the mood a smile. I'll let them all know that I love what I do. It's who I am.