My passion is _____________.
If we took all of the answers to this question, I think we would find the range of answers would be quite extensive and unique. Dave Burgess, author of Teach Like a Pirate, shared that the passion you chose falls into one of three categories: content passion, professional passion, or personal passion.
Content passion is the excitement you have about the content you teach. If you were to take all of your standards and pick the ones you most enjoy, these would be your passions that relate to your content.
Professional passion is why you decided to pick a career in education. What is it about being an educator that drives you? While content passion excites you for specific topics, professional passion is what sustains you through difficult days (and fills the gaps of standards you don't find that exciting) as it serves as a reminder of the important work you do in the lives of students.
Personal passion is what you enjoy completely outside of your job. Bringing your personal passion into the classroom increases engagement (for both you and your students), increases your sense of fulfillment as an educator, and creates powerful lessons because you are teaching from your strength.
So which is the most important? All three play a role! But, while personal and content passion may not be able to be included in each lesson, consciously remembering to include your professional passion every day in every lesson allows you to become, "...absolutely relentless in the pursuit of excellence." (Burgess, 2012, p. 10). Burgess (2012) goes on to state:
With a focus on professional passion, teaching is no longer about relaying the content standard...it's about transforming lives. It's about killing apathy. It's about helping the next generation fulfill their potential and become successful human beings. It's no longer about memorizing facts; it's about inspiring greatness. When you are passion filled, you also become more personally fulfilled as an educator. It's fun and exciting to share what is uniquely "you." Doing so makes your presentations and personal charisma almost magnetic in nature. Being in the presence of people who are engaged in fulfilling their major life purpose is almost hypnotic. There is a certain "juice," an electricity, that emanates from those who truly love what they are doing or discussing. Others may have no particular interest in the subject at hand, but they are magically drawn to a person because of the sheer power that permeates the presentation. Passion is like an intoxicating drug without the dangers and side effects. Use it as much as you want. Once you get a taste of it, you'll always want to come back for more (p. 10).
No textbook, resource, or piece of technology can replace the excitement you bring to the classroom or the relationships you build. Be bold. Be daring. Be passionate!