I spent this weekend with over 300 passionate educators at the Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teaching and Teachers (ECET2) national conference in San Diego. When I walked into the ballroom and heard the buzz, I had the same reaction that Melinda Gates had when she heard about Mark Zuckerberg and Pricilla Chan’s commitment of donating 99 percent of their Facebook stock worth $45B to make the world a better place: Wow! The energy in the room at an ECET2 conference is palpable. After the conference, I heard teachers say that they have made a connection to people that they had no idea were out there. This year a common theme at the conference was race and equity. I followed an amazing Cultivating a Calling talk by Jaraux Washington, a 7th grade science teacher who is also a CTQ Virtual Community Organizer. She compared her experience as a teacher to The Wiz—where she was Dorothy and met many good witches and students who appeared like the Tin Man, the Lion and the Scarecrow. It was fitting that I followed with a story about my experiences with race in South Africa after Apartheid and quoted Nelson Mandela:
Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated and passionate about what they do.
I reminded them that Passion is Power!