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A few weeks ago I attended the Advancing Improvement in Education Conference in Austin, TX. My wonderful curriculum director shared with me some info on a session she attended. The speaker referred to a book title, The Golden Circle … where the author focused a lot on the reasons “WHY?” we do what we do.

So last week I shared this concept with my teachers during their PLCs because it fits perfectly with our campus theme of “Passion”.

It works like this…


In many aspects of our lives, we begin our conversations with “What” we do. We share from the outside of the circle and move towards the center ending with “Why”. Visiting with each of my grade level teams, this is how the conservation went.

Q: WHAT do we teach?
A: We teach the curriculum, the TEKS, state standards (what we are told to teach).

Q: HOW do we teach?
A: We use think tanks, small group activities, models, practice reading and writing, draw pictures, review math facts, technology tools, peer groups, instructional strategies, and more.

Q: WHY do we teach?
A: So students can be successful in life, graduate high school, go to college (and some more honest teachers replied… “so students can pass the state tests”).

How terrible would it be if we allow our teachers to think they are simply “test strategists”!

This was a demonstration of communicating from the outside of the circle and moving toward the center. So how do the same teachers respond to these questions in reverse order? Keep reading.

Q: WHY do we teach?
A: Because I love kids. I love seeing students get excited about learning something new. It’s fun to share new stuff with kids. I love helping students understand and learn something they couldn’t do before my class.

Q: HOW do we teach?
A: By bringing new ideas and experiences into the classroom. Having the students teach each other. Sharing new ideas and connecting with others inside/outside the classroom. Allowing students to communicate their ideas and express themselves.

Q: WHAT do we teach?
A: We teach students to be creators, thinkers, and problem-solvers. We are preparing students for a future we can’t imagine.

Please understand…I did not change the answers of my teachers. These are the responses many of them shared with me during their PLCs last week. Did you notice the difference in their answers?

What made this difference in the same people? We changed HOW we communicated … started with the inside of the circle. Start with WHY. When we communicate from the inside out, our answers change dramatically.

Focusing on the WHY helps to line up the WHAT we do in our daily lives. The WHY drives a person. WHY moves a person from simple doing a task and gives purpose to life. WHY is where passion lives… and passion helps to empower and encourage people as they go through difficulties and struggles.

My job is hard…my graduate courses are hard…being a husband and father are hard. But with passion, I see the value in my life … and the hard stuff becomes worth it. I can make it through these struggles because I focus on WHY I’m an educator, WHY I’m in grad school, and WHY I’m a husband and father. The WHY helps me discover my purpose and I see the value in all these things. The struggle never goes away, but the weight I carry becomes a little lighter.

Focus on the WHY and find your passion… become #PassionDriven