As a group of fellow doctoral students and I ranted about the myriad challenges we face in our respective workplaces, a great mentor and teacher bluntly asked: “Are you having fun?”
Silence. She asked again: “Are you having fun?” When she sensed no response forthcoming, she remarked: “If you’re not, you need to go somewhere else.”
Chord struck. On the assumption that no one enters a doctoral program in order to remain in the same position for the next twenty years, our teacher knew exactly what she was doing. The difference we would make in our professional lives would not be in our present billets, but in our next one. In an opportunity representing the nexus of our professional and personal passions and the ability to engage with them each and every day. If we are not seeking out those opportunities, we are doing ourselves and our stakeholders (current and future) a disservice.
Our passions are no secret, to ourselves or others. My AP European History students could see the change in my body language, my energy, and the volume and rate of my speech when we studied Enlightenment philosophy. Teacher groups I work with see the crescendo when my sessions address student choice. My faculty sees two different administrators when I present technology-based professional development as opposed to a review of grade reporting policies and procedures. Teachers I pre and post conference with regarding classroom observations see it in the depth of my questioning. My classmates and professors could see the difference when my presentation was of my choosing rather than random assignment.
We know what our passions are. We must be intentional about finding opportunities to explore and engage with them. Let’s go!