Passion for Change?

You have to go through life with more than just passion for change; you need a strategy. Not just awareness, but action. 
--Barack Obama, Howard University Commencement 2016

Earlier this weekend, I watched in awe as yet another school year has passed and college students are graduating and embarking on their journey into adulthood with degrees and experiences well beyond their wildest imagination.  One of the highlights of the weekend was Howard Universitys Commencement exercises, orated by President Barack Obama.  During his speech, he made a comment that many know to be true, but very few want to internalize.  President Obama suggests, You have to go through life with more than just passion for change; you need a strategynot just awareness, but action.  This is very similar to the bible verse that suggests, faith without action is dead (futile). 

I realize that as educators, many times we think that our passion for teaching will inspire the students to learn.  Sometimes passion is not enough to inspire; you need a plan!  What is your plan as the teacher or educator in charge of leading the students on a life changing process?  How do we plan for success in our classes and among our students?  I can only speak for myself in charting my journey through the year, I plan to see growth and changes, but I cant begin that process until I see where my students are.  I am constantly in awe of teachers planning lessons during the summer.  This level of tenacity is encouraging, however I am unable to walk into the year with an armful of lessons until I see my class roster, data and make expectations for each student.  This is a quality that I learned from a few veteran teachers over the course of my career.  You take your students and begin to draft plans based on the class, but you cant do that until you have the actual information about the students.  My strategy is data driven and thrives on the need to know my students in order to create attainable goals for each of them.  Thus, reinforcing the idea that your passion has to coincide with a strategy for success, the success of your students.  

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