Some may say that being an educator is a profession of choice. Others might say that one becomes a teacher because his or her parents or grandparents were teachers. I propose that neither of the two are accurate enough to describe the integral role that educators play in the lives of everyone. Growing up as a child, there were behaviors I was born with, like crying for example. On the other hand, there were many things that were only grasped because someone taught me. Whether the individual doing the teaching had an official title or not, he or she was instrumental in guiding me along to learn the concept, principle or idea. We might say that the teacher(s) made a decision to act, because there was something that I needed to learn, and that they were able to teach me. Naturally, I learned from them. As a kid, I grew up in a very strict household, where my parents expected me to do as I was instructed and that I was responsible for handling my school work. I had the great privilege of connecting with my first grade teacher, who I still admire and respect today. She has a way about her, demonstrating care and concern, yet holding me accountable for anything I did wrong. What’s more, is that she had such a great personality and I found much of my interaction with her to be fun and enjoyable. It was her tender-yet-strict-and-caring nature that inspired me. It is inspired me so much so, that I would go back to her classroom every day while I was a student at Hallandale Elementary School, to help her with any items that she needed.
Continuing on through middle school and high school, I would always go back and visit and offer my help to her in the classroom. I graduated from high school with the second highest amount of community service hours as a result of what I would call, my passion to do what she did. This passion might be said to be acting on the call I felt to, like her, be part of the educator community. So yes, I knew somewhere deep down since I was a first grader, that I would teach in a classroom. You might say “that’s not possible” or “that’s crazy, you are too young to know what you want to do.” Well here I am today and I have just completed my 10th year as a classroom teacher. Perhaps the call to teach was always there and my first grade teacher cultivated it, or watered the seed such that I am able to walk in that role today. Nonetheless, I am an educator today, because of her.
So you might be wondering. What is the call? A call is a cry made as a summons or to attract someone’s attention. It can also be defined as an appeal or demand for something to happen or be done. It is a powerful force of attraction. So the educator feels a strong pull to interact with students and to see them learn and grow. The educator answers that call by following the path to earn the necessary schooling and ultimately walking into the classroom ready to meet the needs of students he or she will teach. What does the call sound like? Well I propose that there is no sound, but rather there is an inward longing to act, to pass on knowledge, to allow knowledge to be created, to cultivate minds, to empower, to build, to enrich.
What is passion? Passion also has multiple definitions: an intense desire or enthusiasm for something, a strong and barely uncontrollable emotion, and a state or outburst of strong emotion. I place great value in deciding to give something my all. Why do anything half way? If you go into a forest half way, you might as well go all the way, because you’ll have to back track that half in order to get out of the forest. Being passionate is not only noticeable but it is contagious. If you are passionate about what you do, consider the passion “electric” and you can’t even be near the next person without transference of some electric charge. What would happen if passion became electrically transferred because you decided that you were going in 100%? How would this new passionate attitude transform the mindsets and wills to learn of those you work with? How challenged would others feel to be better based on your decision to be better? The call and the passion can collide into an explosion of robust proportions.
What happens when the call collides with one’s passion? There is a huge difference between just being “present” and one who is passionate about what he or she does. The passionate are excited and motivated to embrace challenges, be the counselors, nurses if needed, and get down in the trenches with the students. The passionate understand the value of learning so much so that he or she will continue to learn and grow to become better at his or her job. The passionate does not allow complacency to set in because he or she knows that students are the ultimate recipients of all of the hard work put into education. The passionate engages and interacts with other educators to develop and collaborate through professional learning networks. The passionate develop their craft or skill through professional development avenues such as conferences, workshops and social media designed to learn. I would say about a month ago, I really begin to learn a lot about the amount of opportunities there are to learn that was not previous privy to. I happened to jump on Twitter to create an account and hopefully connect with other educators. From that decision to develop myself by connecting with others, that led to Voxer educator groups and most recently my first EdCamp (EdCampMagic) on June 4, 2016. I learned so much through this initial interaction with other educators who all shared similar passions and stories for why they do what they do. I will attend my second camp, EdCampVolusia on June 11, 2016 and another on October 8th, EdCampTampaBay.
When you think about an outlet used to transfer power through a cord, we the educators are extension cords that are plugged into the source, whether directly or as an extension of someone else’s cord. The power of connection is just that, power! We have the power to change the world when we answer the call and are passionately in pursuit of continued development.