By JoEllen McCarthy, Literacy Consultant and The Educator Collaborative Book Ambassador
“Let passion drive your profession.” – Oprah Winfrey
Passion is at the heart of effective teaching and joyful learning communities. Not everyone needs a jump-in-your-chair-can’t-control-yourself passionate principal, but quite honestly it probably couldn’t hurt. But passion is more than just enthusiasm or excitement; it is connected to energy, action and motivation.
Passion is also associated with learning, caring and action. In schools where passion for learning exists, that passion can visible and contagious.
So, let’s explore a few principals of passion. Yes, I did write principals. If you are like me, you probably remember a favorite teacher telling us the difference between our principal and a principle, but I’d like to stress the strong relationship between the two.
Individuals, not just ideas, help to create conditions where there is a culture of literacy and a love of learning and passion is the essential ingredient. Principals of passion demonstrate a love for teaching, learning and learners. Passionate principals lead with love, empower others, and encourage collaboration and collective leadership.
The following literacy snapshots may speak to examples in your building or they may encourage opportunities for your own community of learners.
Principals of Passion
Create welcoming spaces and places:
- Transform your faculty rooms to literacy lounges
- Create book nooks and cozy reading spots throughout the building
Foster caring environments:
- Incorporate Book of the Month for Literacy and Life Lessons
- Create a character wall of fame – celebrate characters in books and in the school
Encourage book love by hosting literacy nights, book swaps, breakfast and brunch with books:
Make it their mission to put books in the hands of readers – all year long:
- Order multiple texts in multiple languages
Teach kindness and the whole child:
- Celebrate acts of kindness
- Use Compliment Cards and Brag Tags
Focus on lives over levels, emphasizing a curriculum of children:
- Take purposeful action to reach the minds and hearts of all learners
Help teachers and students take ownership of their own learning:
- Participate in book chats and Twitter chats
- Facilitate learner centered pd-differentiated, adaptive and responsive to the needs and wants of all learners
- Attend #EdCamps and create connected educators
Foster commUNITY-welcoming families:
- Invite families as PARTners to share in the literacy and learning lives of all members
- Host #ParentCamps
Use technology to engage and connect readers with kid lit rock stars via Skype, Twitter and other forms of social media:
- Invite authors and illustrators to inspire readers and writers as real live mentors (aka #kidlitrockstars)
Facilitate formal and informal collaboration opportunities:
- Reflections consist of wows and wonders
When educators are passionate about their profession, they serve as models and inspire others; whether they are jumping-in-the chair or not. The characteristics of their schools impact the climate and culture. The ideas above are transferable to any school. They make an impact because passion has a contagious effect on students, teachers and the community with a school committed to a celebration of learning.
Which principals and principles fuel your passion? How might passion impact instructional practices, beliefs and joy in your building?