I was saddened to hear about the recent passing of Joe Bower. He was a good friend, amazing educator, and did everything with passion. Here is the first quote I thought of when thinking about Joe;
“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
That statement would not summarize Joe, but it was definitely a part of who he was. A person who lived his life full of passion and put his heart into everything he did, whether it was politics, education, or his family.
Joe and I had so many conversations, and although we did not agree on everything, he was always open to learning. We would push each other, and when you have people like that in your life, you can only come out better. His writing and work on assessment at his blog, “For the Love of Learning“, was known worldwide, and has made a huge impact on many educators. As I travel all over, many people finding out I was Canadian would ask me quickly, “Do you know Joe Bower?” I don’t think he fully realized how many people benefitted from his writing. I was definitely one of them.
If you do not know Joe, here is a page of his work on “Abolishing Grading”. There is so much great stuff there, and you could not read it without realizing that he didn’t only challenge traditional thinking, you could see how he is ultimately focused on the well being of kids.
Every conversation that I had with Joe made me smile. He had a great sense of humour, and in 2012, when he referenced one of my posts (which was an amazing honour) this is what he wrote about me:
He is suspiciously well dressed and has the healthiest head of hair I’ve ever seen.
No matter how serious our conversations were, he would always make me laugh.
One of the reasons that I am glad I joined social media to connect with educators years ago, was to connect with people like Joe. Although it really sucks that he is passed, so many people are better because they were able to learn from him. Alberta Education and education all over the world lost a great advocate for kids. My condolences to his family, friends, and all of those people around the world who had their lives touched by Joe. He will be deeply missed.
Rest in peace Joe.