being a teacher, being me, new year, Student-centered, students

What We Need to Remember

image from icanread

“I don’t think I can thank you enough.”  And with that, we said goodbye, and our nanny of the last two years left our home for the last time, ready for her new adventure. I held back tears, after all, our nanny has helped us raise them, helped us care for them, helped us love them.  We have trusted her with our most important parts; our kids, and she has always lived up to the challenge.  I hope our new nanny does too, after all I spent weeks picking her.

When we send our children to school, we don’t have as much choice in who they get as a teacher.  We hope, of course, that whomever they get will love them, will care for them, will help them be passionate learners.  But the choice is not really ours.  We place our faith in an interview process that may have happened long ago, a screening or selection process for class lists that may be mostly random, and we place our faith in the humanity of that very teacher.  That they will get our child.  That they will love them too.  And it is our job to love, to think, to remember.

So before we plan for anything new this year, remember they are a child.

Before we raise our voice, point our finger, shut the door, remember; they are a child.

Before we get frustrated, get ready to discipline, to gossip about that thing that drove us crazy, remember they are a child.

Someone whose parents hopes that you get what they see at home.

Someone whose parents sends their best child to us every day.

Before we assume that parents don’t care, or that there is nothing we can do to help, remember; they are a child.

Before we tell them the long-term consequences of their poor decisions, remember they are a child.

Before we shoot down ideas, reject change, reject new, reject anything other than our own, remember; they are a child and we should be doing our best to give them the best.

Before we hold back, before we leave scars, before we tell a child what they can or cannot do, remember exactly that, they are a child.  They do not belong to us, but we get to have them for a bit.   They are someone else’s, ours to borrow, ours to safeguard.  They are someone’s child, yes, but they are also ours for just a little bit and we can never forget that.

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.

9 thoughts on “What We Need to Remember”

  1. Great post. Important reminders. I’ve always tried to remember to ask myself “How would you want this situation handled if this were Justin or Rachel?” And now I’ve taken the shift to wanting to be the teacher a grandparent would want for their grandchild.

    1. Yes! Once I became a parent the questions was not just “Would I want to be a student in my own classroom?” but also “Would I want my own child in this classroom?”

  2. Blessed by your post!
    Recently, a colleague shared this video created by an amazing educator who reminds us of this “sacred trust” and that “we’ve got to be that light!”

    If you’re unable to view this link in youtube, just search for the video: “We’ve Got To Be That Light” by Dr. Jeff Goldstein , STEM educator.

    It’s definitely worth a look!

  3. Thank you so much for this beautifully written reminder. I would very much like to share it with my colleagues. Between your powerful reminder and Dr. Goldstein’s speech, I am starting the day looking forward to meeting this next group of kids.

  4. I am so glad I found your blog – every time I read it I am inspired. This post is so meaningful.

  5. Thank you so much for these words. It’s a great reminder as we start a new year and meet a great batch of new students. If we can see the eyes of our own children reflected in the eyes of our students, we can realize that they are a child much like our own.

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