The edchat topic from yesterday was all about passion and how do we encourage it in teachers. I hadn't had the opportunity to really participate in an edchat discussion lately (and if you haven't I highly recommend it), and this question in particular resonated with me. One of the reasons that I love my job, is that I am not only allowed but encouraged to engage in activities I am passionate about. I think what the heart of our discussion was the lack of freedom and the stifling of creativity that teachers feel in their schools. That all to often teachers try new things that don't go smoothly and give up. Tom Whitby counteracts with this that we should embrace failure and learn from them. That it is this challenge that we should be embracing. This immediately brought to mind a completely unrelated experience:
Imagine Bethany as a teenage softball player, she is good, but lacks confidence. She can hit home runs, but the minute the count isn't in her favor, she crumbles. With two strikes down, her Dad yells from the crowd, "You hit like a girl." In her head, she yells back, "What is that supposed to mean?!?!" as she hits a home run.
Now, my Dad wasn't trying to put me down for being a girl (in fact he is one of my biggest fans) but he knew I needed to get mad. That if I was just fighting with myself I would lose, but that if I had something to push against I would demand to be heard.
I'm lucky, I am in a situation where I can do what I love and advocate for change in the education world. But I'm not in the trenches, I'm not fighting it every day. But I have been there, and maybe Tom is right we need to be "undaunted by failures. In fact, a passionate teacher should be spurred on by defeats."