Part 1: Leading with Passion
By Dr. John E. Chapman III
“When you set yourself on fire, people love to come and see you burn.” ~ John Wesley, Eighteenth Century Evangelist
John Wesley was known to flout many regulations of the 18th Century Church of England. Although his quote was outrageous in 1700 England, his bold words made people stop and listen for more. He believed in spreading the Christian love to the neglected and needy which was not the norm back in his day. His passion founded what we know today as the United Methodist Church.
As I sit here and think of all the things that make great leaders, one characteristic is key—passion. People are drawn to passion. Muhammad Ali, one of the greatest American professional boxers of all time, was a passionate activist against the Vietnam War. He was so passionate that he refused to serve in Vietnam resulting in draft evasion and stripped of the heavyweight crown he won in 1964 (Time.com). Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States, during the time of a divided nation, fought with passion and conviction to abolish slavery.
Those men were great leaders because they passionately believed in their cause. They made things happen because of their passion.
The definition of a passionate person generally refers to someone who has intense feelings on some topic, whether it is devotion to an ideology or to some cultural passion. The passionate person is often one who tries to convince others that their preferred topic is worthy of everyone else’s attention. (Google)
I think about those who inspire me the most. Those people don’t just know their stuff, they hook me because they can sell their product.
As educators, what good are we if we can’t sell our product and inspire those we teach? We learn when our emotions are sparked to the point of action. Teachers that teach to a “perfectly balanced outcry of reason and emotion” get results (theatlantic.com).
The best teachers innately have the ability to use emotion balanced with reason. Too much emotion tends to get over-the-top results such as fanaticism, but reason balanced with the right amount of emotion equals passion. Passion sells product.
As we celebrated lunch last week for our brand new teachers to the profession, I saw something, or rather heard something exciting. The new teachers to the profession were really noisy during lunch. This is a good thing how you might ask…because of excitement, passion. They were excited, ready to conquer the teaching world, and as a collective group, I know they will succeed because they believe they can.
I have a great feeling about this school year. We have begun with a renewed sense of purpose—to teach students with passion. Our goal this year is to find the treasure in each student and develop that treasure into something they can utilize in their life. Some students are born leaders, some develop and hone skills from daily living, and some are so engrossed in their studies that they consume books quicker than they can get their hands on them. Bottom line, each one has a treasure worth finding and developing.
As we begin the 2017-2018 school year, it’s time to set ourselves on fire with the passion of teaching so our students will come back day after day not because they have to, because they choose to.