Fits & Fugues

Education can be so much more.

A Whole New Mind Book Study Part 3.07.08 -Called to the Profession

Passion. Called to the profession. Inspired by another teacher. Making a difference.

Those are the top reasons the book study participants gave today when I asked them to tell their story and frame it within the question of why they got into education. Empathy, chapter 7, in A Whole New Mind contains a portfolio section called Empathize on the Job. In activity #2  How Did I Get Here? Dan Pink writes “Sometimes you work near people for years but have little idea about the path that brought them alongside you.” So today I asked. We, at the request of the group, modified the activity and had each person tell his/her own story to the whole group. I took notes on one side of a notecard and listened for themes in each person’s story. The dominant ones are at the top of this post. The word passion came out of every story directly, simply, plainly, and unflinchingly. This, from a group that ranges in experience from only a few years to 20+.

I wasn’t surprised about passion, being influenced by another teacher, or making a difference. Those seem to be very common bonds among educators. The other, called to the profession, surprised me a little. Many in the room spoke about being called to the profession, having it in their blood, or simply knowing from an early age they were supposed to be in education. More than one took a circuitous path, some resisting, but we all ended up here. It seems to be somewhat anachronistic, especially in today’s postmodern technological realm, to respond to a call.

This identification of purpose or meaning (Chapter 9) resonates and grounds people, making them unshakable stalwarts. Passion permeates what they do, who they are. Not all educators reside here, but the ones who do simply radiate and attract kids (and adults) to themselves. It’s not out of ego or grandiosity; it’s their quality. The same thing happens when the sunrise stops us or a piece of poetry gives us pause. We cannot really quantify it, but we can see its results. Kids, other staff, parents, even you know who these people are.

The ones who answer their calling are not limited to education, but few other vocations so poignantly intertwine people and purpose, message and meaning, wisdom and wonder. Can we teach kids to answer a call regardless of vocation? I’m not sure, but we can prepare them to be ready, receptive, and reflective. The purpose of education starts there.

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February 23, 2008 - Posted by | Education | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. Completely agree. We educators definitely tend to come to this profession with fervent dedication and passion to the task at hand. Now we need to continue to develop systems that nurture and develop those teachers along the way.

    Comment by mpullen | February 23, 2008 | Reply

  2. Thanks for the reply. We do have to build on the passion and provide ways for students and teacher to be successful.

    Comment by Rick Tanski | February 23, 2008 | Reply

  3. Education is a calling and a vocation. I feel the amazing part is that our dream is to help all of our students realize their dreams. Nothing is more gratifying than receiving a note or e-mail from a past student who thanks you for the difference you’ve made in their lives. Education with all its turmoil and pressure is a marvelous field to work in.

    Comment by charlie roy | February 24, 2008 | Reply


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