Be the change, being me, reflection

Why You Should Share the Good and the Bad

image from icanread

When I started blogging I didn’t know I was going to put it all out there.  Granted my husband could have probably predicted it, after all, he lives with my honesty every day.   And yet, quickly into my blogging journey I realized I couldn’t hold back.  That I felt the need to start a dialogue about not just the amazing great things that I couldn’t believe were happening, but also the crazy bad things where I was embarrassed or had to go home, take a deep breath, and go to bed.

Too often when we blog we don’t share the ugly.  We don’t share the mistakes we make, the lessons that blow up in our face, or the doubts we carry as educators.  I get it.  I also worry every time I post something that shines a negative light on my own performance as a teacher.  I wonder if someone is keeping track of my failures.  Keeping track of how something didn’t work out.  Yet, I keep pushing “post” and I keep sharing.  Why?  Because I ‘m human.  I make mistakes.  I am growing.  And I am learning.

As teachers we are not expected to be perfect, we are expected to be learners alongside our students.  We are expected to be responsible, to create incredible learning opportunities for the children we are lucky to teach.  Yet we cannot account for everything.  We cannot plan for the many  things that can work against us.  And we have to admit that.

Rafranz Davis wrote a powerful post discussing how when we present only the good we create Stepford classrooms that others will never feel they can live up to.  We create a false impression of what education looks like every day, every moment, in our rooms.  That doesn’t help much.  I would be exhausted if I only blogged about the great and then was worried someone might walk by and catch the bad.

I blog to grow and I blog honestly because it keeps me accountable.  I blog about the bad to start discussions, to help others realize that many of us make mistakes, many of us have lessons that fail, many of us don’t have all of the answers.  That doesn’t mean I don’t blog about the great, how can I not write about the incredible things my students do?  But it means that I don’t pretend the bad doesn’t happen.  I don’t hide it, nor do I want to.  To grow fully as teachers, we must embrace our past mistakes.  We must study them and learn from them.  Why not start a dialogue and do it publicly, perhaps just some of the time, so that others can grow with us?

I am a passionate (female) 5th grade teacher in Wisconsin, USA, proud techy geek, and mass consumer of incredible books. Creator of the Global Read Aloud Project, Co-founder of EdCamp MadWI, and believer in all children. I have no awards or accolades except for the lightbulbs that go off in my students’ heads every day.  First book “Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classroom Back to Our Students Starting Today” can be pre-bought now from Powerful Learning Press.   Follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.

14 thoughts on “Why You Should Share the Good and the Bad”

  1. Feeling the disappointment when bad things happen right now. Good to know that even those who share a passion for their job like I do have those times where it doesn’t go quite right or falls completely flat on its face. Funny how, at times when all feels lost, inspiration and reassurance is just around the corner. Thanks for the reminder about being human and fallable.

  2. This is so great for your readers to see, because I think many of us see these idyllic views of other teachers and begin to think that what we do/learn is not worthy of putting out there because it is not perfect. I also truly believe that this is equally, if not more so, important for our students to see! Thank you for sharing this with us, it is more helpful than you know!

  3. And that’s one of the reasons I follow your blog. Learning to accept the idiosyncratic behaviors of life and then learn from them.

  4. That is so true! I think as educators who are passionate about what we do, we take risks. We fall. A LOT! It’s nice to know we aren’t alone. 🙂 Thanks for the honesty!

  5. Thank you for sharing the good and the bad with the world. I must admit that you are a bit of an inspiration for me when it comes to style and voice in blog writing. I feel that I have the lecture style rant down pat, but you have really inspired me to add a touch of the personal. To be honest, I don’t really like sharing ‘me’. I can talk about ideas all day long, but to actually share me felt a little risky. However, took this step with the death of mother to reflect on some of the lessons I learnt from this whole situation:

  6. I think that as great as a post like this is, we need to acknowledge that there is a double-standard when it comes to sharing the negativd. Put simply, when we are “honest” and share the bad, it’s things WE did wrong and OUR imperfections. But try and make students shoulder the blame and you are suddenly “that teacher” you are supposed to avoid becoming.

    Granted, my perspective is from teaching high school, but I wanted to point out that often, when Connected Educators™ share negative things, it’s in a safe way that ofyen cits a narrative.

    1. Very true, but I wouldn’t want to sit and share the negative in regard to what my students are failing to do any way. That is a private conversation I can have with them, not in a public forum unless initiated by them. After all, I choose to blog about me and my life as a teacher thus I can choose what people read. I would hate to make that choice for a student.

  7. Such a great post! Sometimes I feel myself taking a deep breath because I don’t want to be on my soapbox all of the time. BUT – I am passionate about my job, what I believe about education, and the students I interact with. That passion puts me up on that soapbox almost every time I speak about what of do. You have inspired me to not hold back so much- to not worry so much about sounding preachy – and to let my passion bust out from the top of that box. I continue to anticipate your posts and fine inspiration in the good, the bad, and the ugly.

  8. That was such a great post and I admire you for being comfortable with putting up posts about your good and bad days. Nobody is perfect and it is perfectly okay to have bad days and blog about it. Keep up the good work!

  9. Love this line – “To grow fully as teachers, we must embrace our past mistakes.” I’ll make an even broader claim – to grow fully as a person, we must embrace our past mistakes. Thanks for your continued inspiration, Pernille! Love your work! It always makes me think more deeply.

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