Be the change, new year

Don’t Throw Out the Old

I have been waking up at 5:30 so that I can be to my new school by 7 every morning, drinking in the newness, as the school slowly wakes up.  I have plans and papers piled around me.  Ideas bouncing through my head, waking me up at night.  I have dreams, so many, and yet, I have to remember to keep the old.  To keep the tried an d true.  To keep the “me” in the new.  To keep what has worked as well.  That although new ideas seem like they will fix everything, or at the very least make it all even better, that our old ideas also still have value.  That although new is shiny, exciting, and oh so tantalizing, some of our old thoughts still works.

This is not to say that new is bad, but I think we get caught up in wanting to change everything at the start of every year, rather than focusing on a few things.  That we make these new year resolutions about how this will be the year we will be “that ” teacher, and then forget to give ourselves a break.  That to create new habits take a lot of work, take a lot of energy, and that we have to also preserve ourselves in the crazy life as educators.  

So while I stand in a new position; 7th grade English teacher (who would have thought) I know there are some of my old ideas that will work.  They will get tweaked, of course, they always do.  But the backbone of them, the seed, is still great.  The idea when it was first new was amazing, and that idea still has merit. 

So go ahead; get excited, dream up the new, but don’t forget about the old things that worked.  About the old ideas that were new once.  Some will still work.  Parts of you will still work, even as we start on a whole new year.

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.

4 thoughts on “Don’t Throw Out the Old”

  1. New ideas can definitely be alluring, but they should enhance our lives and our work; not detract and pile onto our existing workload (as most bureaucratic mandates do). HabIts are habits because we perform them often, thereby enhancing their need. New ideas can replace old habits and it’s great to infuse new excitement into our lives, but if they’re a burden, they probably aren’t worth it. Even then, It’s not a total loss. Ideas breed more ideas, which energize our lives!

  2. This is so important. We are a PYP school and when new teachers come to our school and are flummoxed and off kilter as a result of new language, it is so important to remind them how much they know . Remind them to acknowledge how much of what they do is really good. Excellent post – as always. thanks.

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