Hello and thanks for being here!
Today I want to talk to you about passion. Not the kind that steams up windows or calls for special content ratings . . . Nope this is the kind that consumes us and drives us to do something with our whole heart and soul. I like to think of it as the stuff where the magic of life happens.
Webster defines the word passion as a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something, or about doing something.
Having spent the better part of my career as a Librarian with elementary kids I’ve seen firsthand the importance of passion.
When it comes to educators, the crème de la crème are those that have the stuff coursing through their veins. It’s the thing that keeps them awake nights thinking about how to ignite it in their students.
Enter Ms. Mrak, a truly phenomenal grade two teacher who has devoted much of the school year and her efforts to “Awakening Passions” in her students.
Every friday, Ms. Mrak invites someone to come into her classroom to talk to the students about their passion. This past week, Sam Livermore of Sliver Photography was the special guest and lucky for me, Sam asked me to join him. *smile*
Sam has enough boundless energy and enthusiasm to fill a room (needless to say, everybody loves Sam!) and he brings those qualities to his photography. The result is truly phenomenal. Be sure to do yourself a huge favour and check out his site!
Our day with Ms. Mrak’s grade two class was spent sharing our passion for photography and the reasons why we take pictures. The students learned how through the ages, people have taken pictures to tell stories and capture special moments and events.
After introducing them to some basic concepts of photography such as light, contrast and perspective the fun really began!
Technology is a fabulous thing especially when it provides students with an iPad and the ability to take pictures. If you’ve never let a class of grade two students loose with a camera I highly recommend you try it and SOON. Looking at the world through their eyes is fascinating!
I watched one of the students and marvelled how he was totally engrossed in taking pictures of textures. Anything from the shredded tires used underneath the playground equipment to a close-up of a classmate’s knit sweater or the pattern on a sewer cover were his sole interest. What a door of opportunity and exploration had just been opened!
Shortly after, another student approached me and asked if I would mind shaking the branch of a nearby evergreen tree so he could try and capture the snow as it fell. There it was – the spark!
Later I watched in complete fascination as the students began the process of editing their images. Seeing these kids navigate their way through SnapSeed ( if you haven’t heard about it, its an incredible photo editing app) and their resulting images would have made Picasso proud. I was stunned to see the talent that had been unleashed in just that one opportunity alone that Ms. Mrak had provided her students with.
I honestly could go on at great lengths about what it was like to see these young minds light up as they explored a new possible passion. It was a wonderful and unforgettable day and I took away far more than I gave.
Here’s just a few of things I came away with.
- When you treat a student like a responsible person, they become one.
- If you expose children to as many experiences as possible they become all the richer for it. Simply open a new door and lead the way.
- Never underestimate the ability of a small person. They are capable of great things.
- If your child should be so lucky as to have a teacher that challenges the norm and thinks outside the box, thank your lucky stars because you’ve basically just won the worlds biggest lottery.
- Be involved in your child’s learning. If you have the opportunity to volunteer in the classroom . . DO IT! Seeing a seed that’s planted blossom before your eyes is an experience you won’t soon forget.
- Children will mirror what they experience. When you instill trust in a child, they become trustworthy. When you approach learning with enthusiasm, students become enthusiastic.
- Give a child the freedom and space to grow. The freedom to grow their confidence . . . their passion and their dreams.
- Focus on the behaviours you want – not the ones you don’t. Negative attention seeking doesn’t even think about showing up!
- Celebrate ALL accomplishments. There isn’t anything more gratifying for a child than hearing the words . . . job well done. Not only do students thrive when they hear those words but I have a real strong hunch teachers do to.
- Every child needs and deserves a champion and teacher like Ms. Mrak whose greatest passion in life is growing young minds and imparting a thirst for knowledge.
I must say I can’t help but think of the potential that could be unleashed if only every student was fortunate enough to have an educator as passionate and committed as Ms. Mrak.
For those of you interested in the FREE SnapSeed app, you can download it here. If you’d like a little background on the app and its features first, you’ll find some great info over at iPhone Photography school.
Whether you decide to share your passion for photography or you choose to try and ignite it in a child, I’d love to showcase your images, just shoot me a message!