Follow Your Passion

What are you passionate about? During my first few years of teaching I received some excellent advice from an administrator. We had just made the decision to become departmentalized. Now, was the time to choose the subject we wanted to teach and apply for the move.  I loved my classroom. It was large with lots of storage. Windows with a nice view. Perfect arrangement. Everything a teacher could ask for. But ... according to the new plan it would be the English room. I didn't want to give up my beautiful room, but teaching nouns and verbs all day didn't thrill me. The principal asked what I was going to do. I told her my dilemma. She told me not to follow people or fall in love with a place, but to follow my heart. To select a subject that I was passionate about teaching. If I followed my desires than I would be content and happy. She was right.  I gave up my big room when I accepted the position of Social Studies teacher, but I never for one minute regretted the decision. I was able to combine my two loves- reading and social studies- to create memorable lessons for my students.

At the time I didn't realize that the lessons were all that memorable. Some of them I don't even remember! But, time after time, I run into former students who ask me if "I remember when..."
And that is the goal of every teacher. Creating a lesson that students carry with them. Lessons that help them understand a concept so that they can claim it as their own.

Would I have done this if I had stayed in the "perfect classroom" teaching English?  I don't know.  I do believe that God gave me a gift to teach and I do believe that He is all powerful and able to do anything. So.. Yes, He could have made that venture successful. But, God also wants us to have joy. Something would have been missing if I had not ventured out of my comfort zone. I would not have experienced the pure joy of seeing a lesson come to life.  I'm not saying it was all smiles and happy times. There were some nightmares thrown in the mix too! But, God was faithful and blessed me abundantly. Later, He blessed me even more when He gave me the opportunity to move to a reading position and... a bigger room with LOTS of storage- more than the first room I had relinquished.

So, the lesson is this. Follow your heart. Your passion will spill over and be caught by your students. They can tell if you are only teaching for the summer off or if you truly love what you do. Teach, if possible, subjects that you love. When you are on fire, your students will catch the spark. See how quickly the passion ignites! For a teacher, there is nothing more satisfying than observing the wildfire spread of learning.

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