Be the change, being a teacher

She Wants to Teach

photo (15)“Mom, I have an idea…”

Thea reaches for the marker and starts to write her ABCs on the whiteboard behind her.  She is with me in school today for take your daughter to work and has been thinking hard the last few minutes.

“When the kids come back I’m going to teach them their ABCs…” she states, as if this is the most brilliant idea ever.

So I tell her it is time to go and she furiously scribbles a few more letters on the board.  We get the kids, they settle in, and Thea marches to the front of the room as if she was born to be there.  She waits and then points to a letter.  “Umm, what’s this one?” she says.  Hands shoot up as the kids grin.  “You!” she points to one of my students who gets it right and Thea quickly tells them good.  The next five minutes Thea is the teacher.

I stand back, feeling my heart break and swell at the same time.  I have joked with others about how Thea wants to be a teacher and today she has once again shown me that it seems to be in her nature.  That teaching may just be her calling as well.

I want to shake the dream out of her head.  I want to stop her from becoming a teacher, from choosing this profession that can be so life consuming.  I want to stop her from picking a job that will mean working the longest days for little pay.  That will mean worrying at night about things out of your control.  Worrying about test scores and politicians and how they will affect your life.  Worrying about whether the parents like you, whether the students are learning, and whether you are truly prepared.  Whether you are everything you say you are.

And yet…

My little girl wants to teach.  She wants to be a part of a life that changes the lives of others.  She wants to be an influencer, someone who molds and shapes.  She wants to make a difference by helping others become what they dream to be.  She wants to teach and I couldn’t be prouder.

I couldn’t be happier.  Even knowing she will face heartbreak.  Even though I know she will have days where she wants to pull out her hair, shut the door, and give up – she wants to teach.  She wants to be a part of that.  She wants to change the world.  She wants to make a difference.  For now anyway.

She wants to teach.  And the world will be better for it.  So why should I stand in her way?

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.

8 thoughts on “She Wants to Teach”

  1. Izzy said, “Mom, I think Thea is going to be a great teacher someday, just like her Mom!” She has quite the line if passionate educators to follow. You’re Mom is nothing short I’d outstanding and then there’s you; I think you know how the Vogel’s feel about you!

  2. My kids have seen my teach their entire lives. They completely understand or will understand depending on their age what it means to teach. They see the way I turn everything into a lesson. They see how I take them to places they can learn such as museums and science centers. They see how I use my weekends to attend conferences and do lesson planning. How can any child see someone really enjoy what they do for a living and want to do anything else?

  3. My father was a teacher and loved it. He told me not to go into teaching. I didn’t listen. For the past 34 years I have been in education—never a regret, excited and renewed comes September. Always inspired by the children and the possibilities.

  4. For now, it’s all she knows. Whatever you do, give her options to consider. The job is awesome. I have 26 years in. The profession, however, is under siege.
    Two words: Act 10.

  5. I too was so surprised when my daughter decided she wanted to be a teacher. She teaches pre school children and has 3 young children of her own (9 1/2 year old 7 and 5 1/2 year old). Not easy, but she so good at it.

  6. I so hear what you are saying, Pernille. My daughter is in Grade 10 and loves graphic design, but she has recently been dropping hints about her real passion for teaching. Her father, as the husband of a teacher, who has seen and experienced with me the sacrifices made over the past 25 years, is dead against her becoming a teacher. I, however, difficult as it is, have told her to follow her heart. I believe it is important to do something that you are passionate about, so if her calling is teaching I will support her in her decision.

  7. Pernille,

    I can truly identify with this post. I knew that my daughter was a born teacher at age 2. When she was looking at colleges and told me she wasn’t sure about her major, we went to the presentation on early childhood and her face lit up. She found what she wanted to do. She is not sorry about her choice and neither am I. She is a phenomenal teacher, using her talents as she teaches her own baby daughter. I am so proud of her and learn from her everyday.

    Matthew, on the other hand, graduated from college as a journalism major. I remember the conversation that we had when he told me that he wanted to help people and I told him that good journalists help people. I knew what he wanted to do and tried to discourage him. Luckily he didn’t listen to me. As you know, he is a passionate, phenomenal teacher. I am so proud of him and learn from him everyday.

    Thea will make her own choices as she gets older. At this point in time, she sees what you, her biggest role model, does. Be flattered that she wants to be like her mommy. She will find her way but don’t be shocked if teaching is her profession. Be proud and support her. I know that you will.


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