Passion: A reply

Last month our superintendent, Mr. Jeff Jones, on his blog shared an anecdote on the passion and motivation of the administration that he witnessed while visiting last month at a local school.
I felt compelled to respond (this is an editing version from the comment I left on his blog)…
To take it a step further, Jeff, I think that teachers/educators can be a powerful source of inspiration for students to follow their own passions. Personally, I LOVE my job and I’m not afraid to let colleagues, and especially students know it. And why not? I LOVE to read, to write, to utilize technology; to create; to have the freedom and flexibility to try different initiatives at school; and to collaborate and with (and support) several people (teachers and students) everyday. Not one day is EVER the same. Ever.

But sadly, the opposite is true for most of my colleagues. Most feel strangulated by government exams, frustrated by curricula that is just an exercise in memorization and ‘jumping through hoops’ (the kids know this, sad), rising financial restrictions, and a VERY inflexible schedule/timetable. Even if you gave most of them the opportunity of truly complete autonomy and freedom over their courses and curriculum (and how they operated them) I’m willing to bet the farm that almost everyone of them would return to their comfortable, inveterate, ‘old habits-die-hard’ form of teaching. Sad, yes. But true.

One part about my job that I’m not afraid to say that I dislike more than any other is curation of the textbooks. Ugh! I cannot think of a greater waste of both time and money in a school in the 21st century. Every semester as I create the Google Doc class sign-out schedule I’m hoping to be inspired by a colleague–that they’ve decided to forgo the textbook for the semester–to change things up in their classroom, to express themselves, and their passion for teaching and learning.

I’m still waiting (and hoping)…

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