Passion for education

Photo by Anthony Easton on Flickr

In my last post I wrote about inspiration - for those who are teachers, and also for those who are learning - and I guess, that is just about everyone.

I also touched on the theme of passion - the love for learning that all successful teachers tend to exhibit. We all need inspiration, and many would argue that we perform better as educators when we have passion.

We need to see education for what it is - the means to draw out the best from children and give them the best preparation to thrive in the world.

Further inspiration about education came this week from a tweet by Jimmy Casas below:

It's true of course. Those teachers who have a great passion for education exert every muscle to ensure that the best possible learning opportunities are presented to their students. It matters not where that student sits in the class, or what their history has been. Unconditionally regarding each child with positivity is key to good pedagogy (Rogers, 1983).

Teachers who strive to do their best for children tend to have the most impact across the board. Effective pedagogy not only has impact, it's contagious. Often, in my own practice, if I witness a good method or technique, I adopt it myself. I develop it and apply it to my own professional context. Colleagues who have been in my sessions have then incorporated my ideas into their own practice. Teaching is like that - it's an ever evolving, always changing terrain in which we discover new things constantly, reflect upon them, practice them ourselves and then share them across our communities. This process promotes 'a different way of being' teachers (Bolton, 2006).

But while teachers are attempting to be the very best they can be, there are many problems to be faced. Some appear to be contradictions. An interesting question arose on Twitter recently around standards. It was a simple question: Why are we expected to standardise our testing when we have differentiated in our teaching? This is profound. Many teachers think this but few voice it as an issue. There is incongruity in our schools. When children notice these disparities they can become discouraged. 

While we can all be passionate about what we teach, there are still many problems in education that cannot be fixed quickly. Injustice, lack of clarity, contradictions, unfairness and traditions that are long overdue for a change - all are present in our school systems. What cannot be fixed will need to be circumvented. The very best teachers find ways around these problems, and teach brilliantly despite the conditions they are forced to endure. It's often our passion that carries us through.

Bolton, G. (2006) Reflective Practice. London: Sage.
Rogers, C. R. (1983) Freedom to Learn. Columbus, OH: Merrill.

Creative Commons License
Passion for education by Steve Wheeler was written in Plymouth, England and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


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