being me

I Didn’t Ask

Ida throwing a fit after she drew a mustache on her face

I didn’t ask to be the mother of a child who screams at the top of his lungs.

I didn’t ask to be the mother of a child who refuses to wear clothes and hits you when you try to dress her.

I didn’t ask to be the mother of a child who makes up every excuse in the book so that she will not have to go to sleep.

I certainly never asked to be the mother of a child who arrived 10 weeks early and has had to fight for her growth.

But they are mine.  And I love them.  Even for their faults.

I didn’t ask to be the teacher of a child who refuses to read.

I didn’t ask to be the teacher of a child who interrupts – every – 30 – seconds.

Or the child who gets so angry they throw furniture.

Or the child who sleeps in a closet.

I didn’t ask for them to be in our room.  But I would have.  I would have taken them all gladly.

For they are the children who change.  The children who need a chance.  The children we wouldn’t ask for but then cannot help but love so much that when they leave our classrooms at the end of the year, it physically hurts our heart.  The children we wake up over.  The children we fight for.

Not every child is perfect, I see that in my own children, but every child needs a chance.

I didn’t ask for children who needed my heart to be big and my patience to be bigger.  But it is what I got, and I am better because of them.


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.

5 thoughts on “I Didn’t Ask”

  1. So inspiring Pernille.. thanks!

    Reminds me of something I heard Principal El say on the BrandED podcast. He tells his students, “We loved you before we even knew you.” Powerful!

  2. Yes! Yes! Yes! This is how I feel too…25 years into the most challenging and rewarding role (next to parenting!) Your comments once again resonated with me; faces came to mind of children that I have despaired over, cried about and for whom I celebrated the “smallest” achievements! It does indeed pull at our hearts to watch them leave at the end of the school year!
    There are those who comment about our summers “off” as teachers but I often remind them we need time to make room in our hearts (and build up stores of patience) for those children coming into it in the fall!
    Thanks again for sharing!

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