Is there such a thing as being too passionate? We all see it in the sports fan who dresses up make up and all for games, live posts about it on social media, and then, when their team loses, you can’t even be near them for days after. We see it in the people who are seriously passionate about politics, fashion, or even their job. But what happens when you are too passionate about education? Is it possible to be too passionate about education?
I’ve totally been there, poured my heart and soul into every part of education I possibly could. I thought that by putting all I have into every little piece, I would somehow be making education better for my students and my school. Oh boy was I wrong! By trying to be passionate about every facet of education, I took away from the one true reason I am there: my students!! I am and will always be extremely passionate about educating my students and giving them the best experience in school that I possibly can. With that said, that does not mean that I necessarily have to be passionate about every little thing that goes into education as a whole. I used to think that in order to be passionate about my students, I had to be on every committee, volunteer to take on extra responsibilities, and take on the political powers that be. I was determined to be passionate about all things education and…..I failed miserably. THANK GOODNESS!
I came to the conclusion that what I thought was passion was actually my own perfectionism. I let my own personal need to be perfect in my job, to get accolades for being on committees, and be number one get in the way of what I was doing for my students. I was allowing my perfectionism to keep me up late obsessing over little particulars that had no impact on my students’ success and more impact on my own need to have things in order or have them done a certain way. Not only did my perfectionism take my focus off my students but slowly it started to burn me out. I was overworking myself, I was tired, and I was not feeling the joy that comes from connecting with students and digging into learning.
Being burned out is not a great place to be, but luckily for me I didn’t get so bad that I left the profession altogether. Which, by the way, happens all too often these days. I was taking my passion for educating my students and spreading it extremely thin. What I really needed was to take inventory:
What are my strengths?
What are the strengths of others around me?
What really lights my soul on fire and what are the things I do just because I’ve always done it or I need them to be perfect?
Once I started to reflect, I recognized my need for others; their passions, strengths, and interests. I started to embrace my imperfections and learn from them instead of always trying to hide them. I have learned so much in the last few months as I have been more and more transparent with my students and the learning process I go through. It has been eye opening to see that when I release the pressure of perfection on myself it not only allows me to grow but others to grow around me.