Passion vs Participation

March 13, 2017

“What if we hired people who did not look at teaching as a “career” but as a “passion”?”

“What if we recognized and build on learners’ strengths?” ~ George Couros 

The Innovator’s Mindset

Being a member of many interview panels for future teacher candidates, it melts my heart when I hear members of the committee discredit an individual by saying, “Well, they don’t have any experience…”

Honestly, one of the first things interview committees should consider are the questions they’re asking as well as the results they’re expecting. Are we asking “Googleable” questions? Do we want the candidate to participate in the interview process or reveal their passion–their heart, their strengths? If we want the latter, we must ask questions that allow the candidate’s enthusiasm to shine. I’m entirely convinced that almost any behavior can be taught and learned. Therefore, give me a passionate educator, and I’ll coach them through any content that might be missing.

Passion drives learning.

The same concept should be considered for students. Are we asking students to participate in class and meet our preconceived expectations, or are we tapping into their strengths and allowing their passion to motivate the learning process? 

Below is a video of third-grade students during a Design Thinking Project. They just received their survey results, but haven’t yet gotten to the “interpreting data” unit in math. The desire to understand their audience, to create a game, motivated them to ask their teacher and me how to analyze the data. We gave them a quick ten-minute lesson. Take a look at the video. Did passion promote learning? In what ways might the learning process differ had they participated in the traditional “interpreting data” math unit? 

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  • D Herman March 13, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    Being entrusted with the responsibility to educate young minds should not be taken lightly. Children deserve passionate educators to guide them as they develop skills they need to be happy and helpful citizens.

    • Tara M Martin March 14, 2017 at 9:03 pm

      Very true! Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.

  • Kristin Edwards March 13, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    Passion is contagious! When teachers are passionate their students are passionate!

    • Tara M Martin March 14, 2017 at 9:02 pm

      Thanks for reading and responding, Kristin.

  • Crystal Slaughter March 13, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    You have touched on something very dear to me, and that is passion. I look at some of the greatest literary characters and some of the wonderful people that have stood out in history to me, and they always have three things: passion, tenacity, and gumption. As you have stated other things can be taught, but those are personality traits that create a drive within the individual. Thank you for sharing!

    • Tara M Martin March 13, 2017 at 2:57 pm

      I couldn’t agree more, Crystal. Thanks for sharing.

  • Rick Gavin March 13, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    I agree with you 100% when you say you want passionate teachers. Teachers who are passionate about personal and student learning will usually acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to be great learning leaders. However, if they have made the effort to be prepared as well that’s the best.

    • Tara M Martin March 13, 2017 at 2:56 pm

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Rick. I appreciate it.