I usually arrive at "work" around 6:00 a.m. CST, and on a day with no evening activities I leave around 5:30 p.m. CST. So if talking about school stuff until 7:00 p.m. on a Tuesday night is "work", I worked for about 13 hours on Tuesday. I tell you this only because I feel that if I really felt what I do everyday was really "work", I would probably get here around 8:00 a.m. and leave around 4:00 p.m. However, I am one of the lucky ones, I am one of the people that truly works within my passion. And if you don't have a job that is within your passion, then I feel sorry for you because your days have to drag on.
Passion can be described as an intense desire or enthusiasm for something. Why can't we design student learning around this intense desire or enthusiasm? Too many educators think it is not possible, the system won't allow it, or all kids need to learn the same thing, hence our factory system. I do think all students need to have similar basic skills, what I don't agree with is that all students have to learn these skills the same way or within the same topics. I believe all learning can take place within your passion. We don't have to have a curriculum for that, we have to have a system that allows for the flexibility needed for teachers to design learning opportunities for all learners within the system. Our current model is too rigid, outdated, etc., so why don't we change it?
Think about the experiences you have had in school in which you truly learned something you still use today. I would guess you could think of a way in which you could have learned this skill within your passion. For example, one of my passions today is golf. I love everything about golf. I love the individual accountability you have for counting your own strokes. I love practicing my skills to improve the angles and club speed needed for various shots. I love that you play outside. I love that you can compete against your self, other individuals, or with teams against other teams. Golf is a great game. Now if you were to ask me some questions about geometry, math, science, or many other topics, I can think of many ways in which you could intrigue or spark my learning by applying it to golf. But if you asked me to do the odd problems 1-51 on page 172 or something of that nature, I would get it done, but would I "learn" it? I can answer it for you. No. I would understand it well enough for my test, but I wouldn't have anything to tie it to because it wouldn't be meaningful to me.
Passion is the key component to true learning. We need to design learning experiences around students' passions. It is our duty as educators to develop life long learners. As adults, who wants to learn about things you could care less about or that are not applicable to your life? Nobody that I know of, so why do we make students learn about things outside of their passion or irrelevant to their world. Schools need to change.
If you have a passion for learning (I assume all teachers do) you will commit yourself to designing learning experiences around student passions, and if all educators do this, our system will change. It will become relevant to all students, and we will be able to develop global, digital citizens, who understand their passion and who can THINK, LEAD, & SERVE. What are we waiting for?