Friday, July 19, 2013


Photo by Margaret Roth

This summer, I decided to allow myself to indulge in passion.  Maybe I am the only one (though I doubt it), but sometimes I let my work and responsibilities take over my life, and those things I love to do get pushed to the side.  Truthfully, it got to a point that I actually forgot what I was passionate about. I was losing pieces of myself and I had to make a change.

Part of this realization came from researching and planning to implement 20% time, or Genius Hour, in our curriculum next year.  I began to think about what I love. What would I create for a Genius Project? I had no idea; I could not think of one project I would create.  How could I possibly lead my students through this process if I couldn't identify my own passions?

This got me thinking about the Golden Circle.  Simon Sinek describes this concept in his "How great leaders inspire action" talk:

Sinek breaks it down to explain the three parts of the Golden Circle: What (results), How (process), and Why (purpose). He explains that people don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it.  To me, this is the difference between a powerful and effective teacher, and a teacher that just teaches.  If my students understand the purpose, and more importantly, their own purpose, we can accomplish anything.

So, that has brought me to this question: Why?  What is my purpose?  Sinek captures the power of knowing how to answer this question by saying that if you don't know why you do something, how will you ever gain the loyalty of others?  How can I lead my students without doing some very deep soul searching to discover my "why."

I am not ready to answer that question yet.  I need more time to organize my thoughts and beliefs before they will be ready to publish.  But I have done a few things each day that have ignited passion and pleasure back into my life:

1. Music: I had not allowed myself to become lost in music for some time.  I didn't even realize how long it had been since I had really listened to and enjoyed music. I basically haven't turned it off since making this observation about my life.  And, in my opinion, I am so much more creative and fulfilled when the songs are blasting. (You can see what I listen to while blogging by following the hashtag #bloggingjams).

2. Dancing: Ok, so I am not a dancer, nor am I any good at dancing.  But I love dancing!  Up until this point, I have felt pretty comfortable dancing out with friends or at weddings, but I didn't usually just dance to dance.  With my rediscovery of music, I am also committed to dancing at least once a day.  It is now how I spend my breaks from working.  It is exhilarating.  (You can see an actual video of my dad and me at my wedding-it is pretty silly about a minute and half in...)

It runs in the family
(Photo by Ken Staab)

3. Gardening: My husband and I began seriously gardening this year.  We planted vegetables and wild flowers.  I had no idea that I would love growing our own food, or how much it would bring my husband and I together.  We have spent a lot of time in our (tiny) backyard tending to our harvest.  Watching everything grow and enjoying the fruits of our labor has been incredibly, and unexpectedly, fulfilling.

Why am I doing these things?  What is the purpose of them?  They make me incredibly happy and fill my heart with joy.  Of course, there are many areas of my life that are fulfilling, but that doesn't mean I am passionate about all of those things.  In the end, I want my students to walk away from my class, and their overall education, feeling how I feel when I dance or garden.  I want them to be filled with joy and amazed that they could be learning so much and feeling so good at the same time.  These passions should not exist in silos, but they should seep into all areas of our students' lives, including the classroom.  But even that isn't enough.  We need to move from the passion-drive class to helping our students live a life full of passion.

So, I will continue to strive for a passion-driven life.  Will you?

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