What is a message merely sent if not sincerely received?

To our very core, we love what we do. Heartfelt passion spirals throughout our DNA. Unique as a fingerprint, each educator brings exclusive experience, skills, and yes–even passions to their learning spaces and networks. Our love is why. But it’s how we express these passions throughout our communities that really matters. It’s how we play our instrument in the band that resonates harmony.

Every educator has an audience. We really care about our learners. In fact, our students ARE our why. But how much some care about their professional learning network (PLN) audience often varies. Possibly, educators are more willing to authentically exchange ideas with those geographically far away. Yet when they know they’re going to interact with their local PLN members face-to-face, levels of accountability seem to change. When they passionately disagree–AND they’re knowingly going to interact face-to-face in the near future–that’s a different story. The extent to which educators care about that exchange is the extent to which they’ll guide their professional passions.

Many conclude that a real trailblazer cares a little less about what others think, while pioneers appreciate having a following with whom to lead and eventually interact. Whichever leadership path you may choose, be ready to accept the consequences–positive and negative.

Perspective–Too Flat?

What do you love? Sometimes we get so deep into our own passions that we forget that others don’t share the same ones. We’re easily offended when others don’t jive to the beat of our drummer. Personally, I can’t comprehend why few care about curriculum as much as I do. Who wouldn’t want to share FREE learning and teaching resources and ideas thru specific curriculum objective hashtags? What educator wouldn’t want to connect and receive FREE, unlimited, professional development at their fingertips via twitter? Simply put–Because those are not their passions. That may not be how they learn best.

More importantly, we forget that others have lives, too. Others’ time and energy may be consumed by life issues about which we know nothing. In addition, we don’t truly know each others’ past life experiences. That matters, because our prior experiences have uniquely informed our passions within us, like carving a mold out of volcanic rock, unearthing a fossilized fingerprint. Be passionate–encompassed in perspective.

Expression–Too Sharp?

“You can have high expectations for yourself, but you can’t expect those from others.” Has anyone ever told you this? Like a volcano, passion burns deeply within–Yet nobody wants to be immediately overwhelmed with a passion that isn’t theirs. When you awkwardly force your interests on others, be prepared that it may not be well-received, and for reasons that you may never know. In order to get others to play your tune, you may catch more flies with honey than with... volcanic ash. Be passionate–meet people where they are.

Situational Leadership–Too Natural?

In briefly researching situational leadershipI loosely paraphrase it as: “Meet people where they are,” and “One Size Does Not Fit All.” For example, an administrator may strongly recommend for beginning teachers to participate in twitter chats to learn and grow as educators. Yet, the same twitter chats or learning opportunities may not necessarily be recommended for administrators or superintendents, because they have different instruments to play in the band. Or, they might even be the conductor. Embrace people. Be passionate–situationally aware.

Guiding our professional passions especially matters, because how educators learn, grow, and interact with others directly impacts our students. Listen to surrounding instruments, but be intentional to hear the sounds they’re making. Be passionate–harmoniously.