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A Pedagogy With Passion

The soul of any worthwhile pedagogy is the teacher’s desire and determination to lead by example. Educators cannot inspire a love for learning in others if their own hearts haven’t been enraptured by that very love. One must know what it means to caress an idea if he or she has is to have any hope of conveying it with conviction.

Before wisdom can be imparted, it must be embodied. We embody wisdom when we cultivate a visceral understanding of what it’s like to be moved and transformed by ideas; when we can say with sincerity that we have tasted the experience of being provoked by literature and enlightened by history; when we can teach art and language because we have been genuinely inspired by art and empowered by language; when we can teach math and music with the empathy of one who has been tortured by math and intoxicated by music; when we can communicate philosophical concepts from a place of having been challenged and comforted by those philosophical concepts for ourselves.

The teacher’s relationship to the mind of the student should be nothing less than an extension of the relationship he or she has to their own sense of wonder, to their own process of wrestling with the great questions of life, to their own life-long practice of coming to grips with the problems, paradoxes, and pleasures of learning.

We are not here to stuff facts into people’s brains. We are here to encourage, by the example of our own affinity, humanity’s innate passion for understanding the world.

Drive ’em crazy

Langston-hughes-bday

Langston Hughes wrote:

“Looks like what drives me crazy don’t have no effect on you. But I’m gonna keep on at it ‘till it drives you crazy, too.”

In poetry, Langston Hughes discovered both the philosopher’s stone and the fountain of youth.

Through the rhythmic interplay of word and feeling, he created worlds of magic that lifted him above the sorrows of his time.

To his chagrin, there was one too many who failed to resonate with his passion for the alchemical art of transforming hopelessness into happiness.

Yet, Hughes’ message to them was clear and decisive:

I will not conform to you. Instead, I will influence you into conformity with me.

I refuse to be discouraged by the apathy, cynicism, and quiet desperation of those who are not set ablaze by the fires of creativity.

I shall be relentless in my devotion to that which arouses me, and in doing so, I will eventually arouse you too.

I don’t know if Hughes’ strategy worked on them, but it worked on me.

Thank you, Langston Hughes.

You somehow managed to transcend time again and now you’ve driven me crazy.

I hope I can do the same to someone else.

And even if I don’t, I promise you that I’m gonna keep on at it too.

Sincerely,

T.K. Coleman

Fuel your passion

You may love playing the piano, but that doesn’t mean you’ll always enjoy practicing your scales.

You may love the game of basketball, but that doesn’t mean it will always be fun to work on your free throws.

You may love writing, but that doesn’t mean it will always feel good to edit your material.

You may love your significant other, but that doesn’t mean it will always feel convenient to meet their needs.

You may love your kids, but that doesn’t mean you’ll always feel excited to get out of bed when they cry at 2am.

Doing what you love still requires the determination to create your own bliss and the committment to manufacture inspiration through the sheer power of will.

Finding and following your passion is only half the equation. The other half is learning how to fuel your passion when the initial flame starts to diminish.

T.K. Coleman

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