being me, student voice

It Appears My Students Have More Faith in Me Than I Do

image from icanread

Sometimes I don’t know why I hit “publish.”  Sometimes I shake my head at myself in disbelief; why would I ever want to put “that” out there.  Yet I still hit the button, and then I hold my breath a little.  Thursday’s post was one of those moments.  I wrote it in a few minutes, tears streaming down my face, hit “publish” and hoped to feel a little relief now that the thoughts were out. Brandon, my husband, came home soon after and we talked for a long time about what teaching means to me and feeling like I’m home or not.

I had no idea I was not alone.  I had no idea that so many others once again had gone through the exact same thing.  That this would make others open up and pour so much love my way.  Thank you.    Thank you for reaching out to me.  To assure me it is normal.  To remind me that change can be so very hard yet ultimately so rewarding.

I knew I needed to dig into my students’ heads a little bit, so Friday was a new day and I came in with a survey.  I needed answers to help my heart a bit.  So I asked them if they felt respected.  If they felt their voice mattered.  What I could change.  What I should keep.  I told them that they could remain anonymous if they needed to and then I waited.

Their voices poured forth and with each survey my heart got a little lighter and the ideas started to come back.  Even those that confessed to hating English said that they liked me as a teacher.  Almost all said that they felt respected and that their voices were heard.  That there were great things and things that could be changed.

It wasn’t what I expected.  It wasn’t as bad as I feared.  Yes, there are things for me to work on, there always is, but there was also sparks of kids that felt that the job I do every day matters to them, is making a difference.  So while my heart is still heavy with thoughts of what if, my spirit has been renewed a bit.  Perhaps as so many said, I wont know right now that I am making a difference, but maybe some day I will.  I still don’t know where I ultimately belong, but for now, I am going to embrace where I am.

I am a passionate teacher in Oregon, Wisconsin, USA,  who has taught 4th, 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.

3 thoughts on “It Appears My Students Have More Faith in Me Than I Do”

  1. Pernille,
    I didn’t get a chance to respond to your last post, but it hit a chord. You are brave, as always, putting your feelings and thoughts on the page. You share things many of us think but don’t put out there. By having the courage, you help many in their personal journey. Thank you for that.

    I know, even if you don’t feel as loved and as special as you did as a 5th grade teacher, you are needed and valued by your 7th graders. I hope those responses proved that to you. It is hard not to feel that feedback, that connection that you felt in the past, but know that you are making a difference as long as you hold true to your beliefs. It may not manifest in the same way, but it is there, and it matters.


  2. How often your posts remind me the importance of thinking and reflecting about our teaching. This is yet another one. This week a throughline discussion with our kinders was kindness and respect: to teachers, peers, school community and families. We revisit this all our lives,don’t we?

  3. Embracing where you are. That’s what I remind myself to do everyday as I drive to school. “Let me be a blessing to someone today”, I repeat over and over again. Deep in my heart I know I make a difference because I’m truly interested in my students. I think they know that. Yet I still know I could do more. Can you imagine doing anything else?

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