Last night, I read Angela Watson’s recent post discussing the different ponds we swim in, how we can get stuck in our ponds, and how we all are big fish in our own small pond. She discusses also how depending on the place we are in, we may be a bigger or smaller fish. This has been bouncing around my head and I finally realized why I agreed with the post so much; it’s because I am nothing special. And yet the labels I am graciously given by others, would have me thinking otherwise.
We are so quick to label people. Within this weird PLN/social media/education world, we love labels even more as we spread them as tokens of our admiration and respect and yet they don’t fit for me. “Rockstar.” “The Best.” “Incredible.” We label people with more followers/more readers/more whatever it is… I have even been called a few of these things, much to the amusement of my husband.
Yet the truth is, I am not better than most. I am not always a great teacher. My words are not always inspirational. I lose my temper. I raise my voice. Lessons don’t work as planned. I am not always brilliant, or witty, or even ready with an answer. Nor are all of my blog posts amazing, some are pretty awful, and my brain doesn’t work differently than yours. I write fast. I read fast. But I am not in some way more gifted at being a teacher than others. I don’t know how to reach every child, or to make ever class amazing. I don’t know how to teach everything, nor do I want to.
I know how to share. I know how to reflect. I know how to face my own demons, most of the time. I know what it means to choose kind. To be nice. To be helpful. And to noth think that I am better than others. I have found a path that works for me and I gladly share it, but that does not mean that my path is better than yours.
So while the names and labels we give each other are flattering, that is really all they are. Do not think someone is out of your league. Do not think someone is higher up than you in this imagined hierarchy. I am not a rockstar, I am not in an inner circle of cool people. I am shy. I am an extroverted introvert who bumbles, blushes easily, and never knows what to wear or what to say when going to meet new people. I hate being at conferences alone. I hate the thought of disappointing others and not living up to what they think I might be. And yet, I am just me. I am nothing special, please don’t think I am.
I am a passionate teacher in Wisconsin, USA, who has taught 4, 5th, and 7th grade. 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 Classrooms Back to Our Students” can be purchased now from Powerful Learning Press. Second book“Empowered Schools, Empowered Students – Creating Connected and Invested Learners” can be pre-ordered from Corwin Press now. Follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.