I felt it creep in today. That feeling that I pretend to not have because I am grown up and above it. That feeling that eats away at me, making me doubt whether I am doing enough, trying enough, creating enough. Jealousy, oh you bad habit, I thought I had gotten rid of you.
It’s not that I am jealous of other people’s lives. I love my own, how can I not when I get to work with incredible people, teach amazing kids, and then come home to my family every night. I have a good life, I am fortunate, but still… Sometimes even what I do doesn’t feel like enough. I don’t have a fancy title to add to my name, nor any awards. My lessons aren’t always great, just ask my kids, and my plans sometimes don’t work. I have yet to be able to reach every child or make a difference for every one I teach. Jealousy can sometimes feel like a constant companion when you are on Twitter.
I realized a long time that jealousy is something that comes along with being a connected educator. When you get to surround yourself with incredible people who seem to have incredible ideas any moment of the day, you are bound to feel inadequate. You are bound to feel out of your league. You are bound to feel like you are simply not as good as them, no matter what your brain tells you. It is really easy to think you are bad when you are surrounded by greatness. So we can wallow in self-pity or we can accept and move on.
A few years back, I chose to accept it. I chose to allow myself to feel jealous, and then I chose to use that as a way to drive myself further. I realized that it was not the attention others got that made me jealous but the incredible things they got to do. Things that I didn’t get to do. Opportunities I didn’t have. So rather than be envious, I decided to to try to pursue the things that I was too scared to do before. So I wrote a book, then another. I submitted proposals to speak. I said yes to things that I before would have felt I was inadequate for. And yes, I wrote blog posts that I was too scared to write before. Has this changed my life? Yes. But am I perfect now? No. I still see people do incredible things and jealousy sneaks in again. But this time I don’t kick myself, nor do I tell myself that I will never reach that level. I instead ask myself; does this matter to you? And if yes, then how are you going to do that too? If no, then I simply tell those I am jealous of that I am happy they have the opportunity.
We can allow jealousy to eat us up or we can allow it to move us forward. We choose what to do with it, not the other way around. I know what I will always choose, even if I forget sometimes. I am only human after all.
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” is out now from Corwin Press. Follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.