20:13 PM

The Paradoxical Path to Passion

Metier program helps students find passion, purpose

Teachers dream of helping students discover their passion and purpose. But finding a path, and sticking to that path, isn’t always easy for students as they graduate from high school and are forced to decide what they want to do for the rest of their lives.

The Metier program at Sourcewell was created by Kevin Votaw and Jordan Herman, two teachers who witnessed this issue firsthand. Joining forces, the two created a curriculum for grades 5 to 8 based on discovering flow, finding a path for that passion, and pushing through to see it eventually blossom into a career.

Votaw describes Metier as an experiential learning and lifestyle design program that teaches students to find the truest (play), happiest (flow), and greatest (love) versions of themselves in a career field that makes them come alive.

The Metier curriculum hadn’t yet been developed when Carly Bowman was a student at Pillager Public School, but Bowman said she knew she wanted to work in education. As she set out to pursue a degree in physical education, it wasn’t far into her freshman year that Bowman began to have doubts.

“I just remember feeling really lost,” Bowman recalls. “I wasn’t sure if that direction was right for me and if teaching in general was what I wanted to do.”

The academic term for this is “normal narcissism,” explains Votaw.

“Everybody else seemingly has it figured out but you,” he says. “In reality, each person’s path is unique to them. Rarely do we get it on our first try. Instead, it takes multiple attempts and adjustments along the way. Life’s a game: a series of unnecessary obstacles and interesting choices we know are right for us to play, however winding.”

Bowman, like many in college, came face-to-face with her own choice. On a break back home, Bowman bumped into former Pillager teachers turned Metier experts – Votaw and Herman – and shared her concerns.

I knew deep down, even after meeting with the two of them, that working with children and young adults is my passion,” she says. “I just wasn't sure what exactly I wanted to do with it. I knew the money side of teaching wasn't great by any means. I think most people do, but I really just needed someone to tell me all of the other reasons why I wanted to be a teacher, and Kevin and Jordan helped me find that again.” 

Bowman had all the puzzle pieces but needed a little bit of help putting them together.

“What we found was she already knew,” Herman adds. “She knew she wanted a life of relationships, to work with kids. She was 80% there on her own. All we knew is her passion recipe took one small pivot to get that perfect fit, then her grit took care of the rest.”

That grit helped Bowman earn her degree in early childhood and her first job as a kindergarten teacher at Staples-Motley Elementary School in 2019.

“I think after meeting with them, I definitely found ‘why’ I wanted to be a teacher,” Bowman recalls. “And I think that’s helped keep my positive attitude throughout all the challenges that teaching has brought.”

Votaw and Herman agree Bowman’s story unfortunately isn’t unique and, in this particular case, the education field almost lost a passionate teacher.

“We’re thankful for Carly and for the students like her that we have the privilege to empower and impact,” Herman says. “Yet, how many ‘almosts’ are out there? Our mission is to continue to seek those Metier moments when we’re fully in flow, fully alive. Despite the paradoxical paths to passion, when people have that self-knowledge superpower, and see it clearly as Carly did, they make amazing decisions and even more amazing impacts.”

Learn more about bringing Metier to your students at sourcewell.org/college-career-readiness/metier.