These next 3 questions are posed in Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess. If you are a teacher, this should be your next read, if you don’t own it already. If you are on Twitter, you must follow #tlap for inspiration to do the hard work of teaching! These are my attempts to understand myself better as a teacher and person.
“Within your subject matter, what are you passionate about teaching?”
I am thinking back to my years teaching mathematics, and sadly, I can’t identify what I was most passionate about teaching in this content area. While teaching most concepts, I thought to myself, “When will all these students use this information? ” Many times the only clear answer I had was in the next math class. I know now I did not do the best job I could with designing lessons that helped students identify problems and then solve them. I was a follower of the standards, and I used standards documents as a checklist. I bet my students were bored 😦
I did serve as instructional math coach for a few years, and I can say for certain that I was most passionate about helping elementary teachers connect procedural knowledge to conceptual knowledge of mathematics. Probably not many other people get excited about figuring out why division works the way it does or why a fraction divided by a fraction is the same as multiplying by the reciprocal. The time I spent designing and then implementing professional development for elementary math teachers was exciting and fun!
“Within your profession, but not specific to your subject matter, what are you passionate about?”
I am most passionate about connecting students to their own passions and interests. I hope to always center my work around connecting students to experiences that either help them figure out what they enjoy doing or even help them figure out what they definitely hope to never do again. Being new to a leadership position, I am still figuring out how to support this work best with classroom teachers.
“Completely outside of your profession, what are you passionate about?”
Yoga. Definitely yoga. If I lost my job tomorrow, I would complete my yoga teacher certification and do yoga EVERY DAY! It is challenging, calming and just darn fun. Even when I stink at it and I have lots of room for improvement, I feel accomplished after practice, so much stronger and attuned to myself.
These questions were harder to answer than you would think. Take a moment to reflect on your answers! I would love to see your responses.