There are those that are passionate about learning, constantly curious about the world, and eager to take risks. As a community, it is our responsibility to encourage the geeks! Never role your eyes in judgment of someone who is less capable than you…and never role your eyes in judgment of someone who is truly passionate about a cause and risking nerd-hood to show it!
Today, in my graduate class, I realized there are a couple of us who are teaching geeks…we are Howard Gardner groupies and long to travel to every ASCD conference. We read everything we can get our hands on about education, student learning, school success- you get the picture. This is actually true of most of us in the program (who else would spend 12 hours on Friday night and Saturday discussing how to engage students and develop school improvement plans?). There are two or three in the class, however, who seem to snicker at those who are teacher geeks- and their reactions greatly impact the dynamic of the class.
Now, we know students stop taking risks, stop asking questions, and retreat into a shell when they are ridiculed for asking and wondering. What I observe is that the same is true of adults. Those in the class who are raving, foaming-at-the-mouth educators feel inhibited and are becoming taciturn during the discussions. And we all lose when our community’s learning lunatics stop wanting to be loony about learning and teaching. We all lose when our community’s thinkers are not validated for wanting to think. We all lose when our community’s passionate find their passions dampened.
I will be more cognizant of those who care deeply about an idea or a concept or a cause. The doctor who reads everything about medicine in the news, the neighbor who recycles and reuses milk bottles and bottle caps, the woman down the street that runs marathons four times a year. I will validate their passion. I will value their commitment to their vocations and their avocations. I will support their being a geek about it.