Can one have too much passion? Is it possible to lose focus?
Yes. And no.
I am listening to Ken Robinson's book, The Element, while I run in the mornings. His points about doing what you love, finding the sweet spot where passion and aptitude meet, resonate with me. His examples of people doing just that make me realize that I'm one of the lucky ones. I love what I do.
Yet, some days my work is hard because I want to do it all, change the world so to speak. I certainly don't count myself as one of the better teachers I've ever run across. There are others who challenge and engage students far better than I. But what I do is try to think about my teaching practice, constantly working to improve or change it. I believe that's what makes us stronger.
Ewan McIntosh says this, discussing Robinson's book:
This helps us see what many of us appreciate already: the one biggest
element of improving education, making learning more creatively
inclined and entrepreneurial, is the teacher. It's not curriculum,
class sizes (though smaller class sizes make the teacher's life easier) or even assessment.
…No, it's how teachers and parents teach that is important. It is, to
use a piece of edu-jargon, pedagogy, both at school and at home.
I believe this. And I find it difficult to be the instructional technology coordinator when people think that simply adding technology to the curriculum is the answer without thinking about pedagogy first. But I can't change the world. And I need to let go, if only to ease the anxiety I often feel when others don't have the same agenda or timetable I do.
My brain often flips from Shirky to Robinson, Marzano to Medina, Christenson to Pink as I search for ways to help teachers get on board. Then I realize I don't see what is right in front of me.
Bit by bit, teachers who do continue to learn, teachers who examine what helps students engage, are the teachers who are using technology in effective ways. We have some great examples happening right now in our school–learning, collaborating, and sharing. I am so proud of this tribe and need to concentrate on these successes.
McIntosh says use the collaborative knowledge and experience that exist where you are to move forward:
It's the nurturing of the brains trust in one's place of work or place
of learning that counts the most if we are to improve learning….People, not institutions and paper-borne structures, are the sole way
to help individuals find their element, nurture it and take advantage
of that for the greater good.
He's pretty smart, no?