advice, being me, education, new year

Be Careful – My Words for the New Year

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.

10 thoughts on “Be Careful – My Words for the New Year”

  1. Be careful. Yes so true. Don’t overwhelm with you passion, your words your decisions. So many good statements. Keeping them in mind.

  2. Definitely liking these thoughts. My word for the new year is “recalibrate”. I wanted to change some things, but not lose sight of my original self. So, I thought that was a good way of capturing it. I like the idea of being careful in these ways as well. Thoughtful. Always being thoughtful. Thanks!

  3. Pernille- I look to your blog for words of wisdom and have certainly found them in this post. I agree that we have to “be careful.” Teachers have such an impact that we need to be mindful of the power that our words an actions carry. Thank you for sharing this!

  4. The phrase ‘ be careful’ immediately
    Makes me think of my mother’s words as a child and even to this day. My own words to my children as they were growing up and even to this day are “Be careful”. Your post made me see this phrase in a totally different light Pernille ( as you always seem to do) . Looking at those two powerful little words as meaning care fully about what you do (or don’t do) how you act, teach, speak! Thank you for having the passion to push my thinking further once again.

  5. Hi Pernille, I really needed to hear the words in your blog, they rang so true for me!!! I’m kind of excited about going back to work tomorrow after having read your blog, thank you, thank you!!


    Sent from my iPhone


  6. Thank you, Pernille. “Be careful” reminds us to take care, not just of others, but also of ourselves. Yes, we need to be brave, and creative, and bold, but we also have to be careful. As an administrator, I think of all that I do every day, and I know that I need to be careful about my conversations, my passions, and my time. I will add that I also need to be careful with the teachers with whom I work – their jobs are not easy, and even when they are working their hardest, they are often scrutinized and questioned, and I need to think of the impact that every day has on them.

  7. I just wanted to tell you what an influence your article has had on me, I felt like it or you were really talking to me. So much of what you wrote is what I needed to hear and it really had a huge impact on me. I’ve even been sharing it with my teacher friends, that’s how poignant it is. So thanks for your words and for sharing something so important.

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