Summer-in-Sight Series: Passion

Teacher Toni, Joyful in Primary, passion, how do I find my passion for teaching, what is passion, energy, teacher burnout, primary, primary classroom, primary education, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, joy

Hello there, joyful teacher. Welcome to part two, all about finding and growing your teacher passion. I sincerely believe from the very bottom of my heart that only a special breed of teachers show up here. You are searching for encouragement, growth and joy in the classroom. And that is just all inspiring to me. We need more of that in this world of education.

And because I know that you have that joyful giving heart, I’m asking that you do me a favor. Could you share this series with someone who may need it? Not only would it bring them encouragement and strength as we wind down this school year, but it would help me reach someone new, and therefore help me fulfill my purpose of reaching as many teachers as possible.

With that, let’s dig right into our Summer-in-Sight series. My hope is that you’ve already listened to and taken action from the last episode all about purpose. Remember, we need those deep, meaningful roots just like a big, heavy sunflower needs them if we’re going to hang in there, weather through the storms, and make our mark this school year. So go back if you haven’t already, and make sure to follow through with the actions included in that post.

Passion Can Drive You

Today, we’re going to focus on another tool that can guide you in these last weeks of your school year. This can help you, my friend, show up to work each day with excitement and drive in your heart. We’re all a little low on those things right now.

How would it feel to take those emotions to work with you, to look forward to the time you have left so that you can begin your summer break with confidence that you achieved as much as possible for your students? How would things change if you were filled with passion up to the very end? That is our goal for today. So, let’s get growing.

The DIP Method to Connect You With Your Passion

Toni Mullins is a passionate teacher. Did you know that? I hope you did. But I began to wonder what the significance is in saying that. That word, passion, is so widely overused and misunderstood. It wasn’t until I began to understand passion and utilize it properly, that I began to see better results, a greater impact in my career, and not only began enjoying my work more, but learned how to be more sustainable in a career that is highly stressful and overwhelming.

I also stopped feeling guilty. And the times when those emotions overcame me and made me feel a sense of dread and even regret about my career, those are all things of the past. I give a lot of credit to understanding what passion truly is.

I want to share passion with you!

So today as summer is approaching and time is ticking away to finish what we started all those months ago when we had much more energy and drive, I want to share passion with you. I want you to imagine I have this huge well of passion that is just overflowing. It’s equally amazing as a fountain of youth for those of us over the age of 30. 😉 And guess what else? Because I know the kind of teacher you are, I’m going to let you dip from this well.

Because I love acronyms and a step by step process, I have designed the DIP method to help you get clear on what passion is and what it means for you in your life. Connecting with your passion can help drive you forward and give you that excitement we were talking about. So the DIP method works like this. To be filled with passion, you need to define it, you need to identify it in your life, and we need to plant more of it.

Defining Passion

So, let’s dig right into defining passion. Sometimes we use words and context and we understand them in a certain way. But as I said earlier, passion is heavily misunderstood. I once misunderstood it as well.

Here is a quote from Oprah Winfrey, that I think can help you understand and define it a little better.

Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.

-Oprah Winfrey

So when someone says Toni Mullins is a passionate teacher, it sounds all fine and dandy and lovely. But truly, everything about teaching does not excite me. Late evenings after school? Nope. Administrators who just pile on more and more and more and never ask, Hey, how are you? Nope.

Truth be known, there is a lot about being a teacher that does the opposite of bring me passion, but helping define passion to understand it can help us to follow through with the other steps in this process. So what is passion? It is energy within your body. It is a physical response to a circumstance in your day in your career.

What Brings Me Energy

So Toni Mullins, of course, wants to be called a passionate teacher. But really, my passion is truly most evident when I am managing my classroom. When I’m reading a wonderful, joyful story to my students that makes them laugh, or brings them excitement each day. My passion is within those students who finally learn those phonics skills so that they can read a book for the first time. Those things bring this sense of excitement into my body that I can feel, that is evident on my face to anyone paying attention, that makes me want to come to work each day.

So let’s put this overused cliche to the side. And let’s really define it. Passion is energy. And the only one who truly understands your passion, unless you’re just very, very open about it, is you. You know what brings you energy and passion.

Identify Passion

So now we can move on to the next step of the DIP method. Remember, you want to dip from this well of passion. The second step is to identify passion within your life. Once you understand that passion is physical energy and excitement that you feel as a response to something you do in your day, now it’s time to identify it.

We need to clearly understand what it is that brings us that energy throughout our day at work. And the best way to do that is to sort of give yourself an audit of passion. Now that you understand what it is, let’s specifically look for it. And when we find it, let’s write it down.

I want you to take a day, and the question is, is what brings me passion in my day, what physically excites me within my classroom. And when you find it, I want you to write it down. Be very, very specific. You can use a sentence frame like this, “I feel the most energy when…”

Focus on Passionate Moments

When you have these moments written down, you will better understand what brings you passion. And when you understand it, you can look forward to it. You can use it as a reminder every day that you’re going to have moments like that. And that makes all of this work, all of this winding down and overwhelming stress at the end of the year, worth it. I go to work in the morning and remember that I’m going to get to read my favorite chapter book to my students after lunch each day, and they are going to giggle and beg me to read another chapter.

I have lots of passionate energy filled moments within my day, but this is just one example. And yes, I use that to drive me forward, to excite me, because I know I’m going to get that passionate feeling every day. And so I work to keep that alive. That is what I’m recommending to you.

Another strategy that I highly recommend is just to journal each day. we go day after day, we never really recognize the little magic moments of passion. So consider journaling, just writing a few sentences each day, maybe in your planner, which is what I do have when you felt that passion, and how that changed your bodily response in that moment.

Plant More Passion

So we need to define passion, which we have, and now you need to identify it within your school day. And after that, you’re ready to move on to the last part of this process, which is to plant more passion, the P in the DIP method. And this is very, very important. As we end out this school year, we get a little draggy, we get a little lazy. And that’s just the honest truth about it teacher, you know it’s true, I know it’s true, we are tired. But if we do something different, we can find a different result.

Do More of What Brings You Passion

So what I’m suggesting that you do different is to plant more passion in your day. So if you can put more of this energetic feeling within you, you’re going to find more and more energy to keep going, to do better, to do even more than you’ve ever done before.

There are many ways to plant passion. You could simply increase whatever it is that brings you that feeling throughout your day. So maybe I will make an executive decision to leave something out of my schedule from here on out and replace it with reading aloud my favorite chapter book, or maybe I’ll find more time within my day to work one on one with a student who is struggling, and we can focus on those phonics skills that I love so much. Actually, this is something I’m in the process of organizing right now. I have one student who I really want to be a difference maker for, and I’m setting a time in my classroom to work one on one with her. I’m planting that passion within my day, because I love the results that that can bring.

Try Something New

To plant more passion, you can include more of what you already know brings you that feeling. Or you can do something completely new. Maybe you can begin a passion project. That is a project that maybe you’ve wanted to do, you’ve thought about doing and you know will just overcome you with joy. Maybe you want to do a class project where you recognize people in your building in their contributions. Maybe you want to get your class together and do a little charity project of some sort. Or maybe you’ve wanted to create some sort of experience or resource for many years. But you’ve never gone ahead and given it all of your attention to complete it.

What kind of project can you insert into your school day that would bring you passion?

Set a Goal

And another strategy that really just aligns with everything that I’ve said here in the plant section is to just set a goal. Achieving goals can increase our passion. Everyone loves success. Everyone loves achievement, and the feeling of energy that it brings to finally achieve something that we are passionate about, something that is important to us.

So maybe set some goals. Set some goals with your students, something that you want them to achieve, and you want to be their guide, or maybe set a personal learning or growth goal. Or maybe you have a goal of just organizing things or making things easier within your classroom. And you can set aside 10 to 15 minutes of your break, your planning period, to work on that. Just be intentional and plant more passion.

I truly believe you know what brings you energy, and that deep down, even though it’s hard to begin something new, you know how to plant more of it. So what choice will you make at this moment? Are you going to move forward still tired, still exhausted, counting down the days? Or are you going to use this method that I’ve taught you today to define, identify, and plant more passion so that you can bring more energy and excitement to your day and possibly have the best end of the year ever?

How will you finish the year?

What will it be, joyful teacher? I have a feeling I know your answer. I just hope this method can help you in the way that it has always helped me to hang in there, to see this through until the very end, to hold true to my promises to myself in the beginning when I was more rested, and knew exactly what I wanted to accomplish. Think back on that and move forward, my sweet friend, with passion.

What a fun episode. I just want you to know that right now I feel that energy and passion within me, and this is my passion project. And hearing from wonderful teachers like you brings that energy into my body.

Would you like to work with me?

If you’ve listened all the way through, I want you to know that you would be a perfect fit for me in private coaching. I coach teachers in my spare time, because I want them to feel the joy and energy that we’re talking about today every day. I help them overcome hurdles, I help them find solutions to their real problems. And boy oh boy, do I enjoy it.

If you could use some extra support, I do offer a free 30 minute session to see if it’s a good fit for you. So if that sounds like something you are interested in, there are no strings attached. You can give it a try for free. Just email me, toni @ And if nothing else, we’ll just have a fun moment of connection. And hopefully I can help you to identify some goals and maybe overcome a problem that you’re seeing in your career right now.

But with that, this has been a super fun episode, and I hope you have a wonderful rest of your week. And as always, until we meet again, go make a difference, my joyful teacher friend.



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