I seem to have guiding statements every so often that come into my life and shape my future. Shape the way I teach, shape the way I speak, shape the way I act. In the past I have been brave. I have been passionate. I have been happy and I have been fearless. But this year I feel my life taking a different turn, and while I continue to tell myself and others to be brave, to be happy, to be passionate, to be fearless, I also want to say be careful.
Be careful with your words, because what we say matters.
Be careful with your risks, take them and own them and don’t be ashamed. Share them with the world, share them with your students, share them with people who care, you don’t have to keep wasting your time on people who don’t.
Be careful with your dreams and that you don’t extinguish them yourself out of fear. The future may be unknown but you set the path to follow.
Be careful with your students, we get one chance to show them that we care about them, don’t waste it on minor problems.
Be careful with the way you spend your time, there is truly only so much you can do in a day.
Be careful with your small conversations, those moments in the hallways, those moments at lunch, those moments in passing, because those are the ones most people remember so make them worthwhile.
Be careful with your public statements, we jump to conclusions and social media only allows us too much of a platform. Use it for good. Use it to lift others up. Use it to debate, but use it to debate kindly.
Be careful with your choices, make sure your heart is in it, don’t just say yes because you should, but say yes when you mean it and then really mean it.
Be careful with your passion. Yes, change is great, your ideas matter, and yes, there are probably other ways something can be done, but others have passion too. Don’t diminish theirs to highlight your own. Build a bridge, compromise, and listen to each other. Believe in yourself but spend just as much time believing in others.
Be careful with yourself. Stop belittling and battling yourself. Take care of you so that others may have the chance to care as well. Be proud of who you are and allow yourself to change. Allow yourself to try. Allow yourself to pull back and heal when needed.
Be careful but don’t be so careful that you do not change. That is my wish for 2015.
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. Second book“Empowered Schools, Empowered Students – Creating Connected and Invested Learners” is out now from Corwin Press. Follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.