I have failed as a teacher many times, mostly in small ways, but there have been epic ones as well. I think so many of us have had them. Yet, what we do with our failures is also what defines us and today, after two weeks of rotations that simply were not working, I was reminded again of what kind of teacher I want to be.
I want to be the kind of teacher that doesn’t give up. The kind that finds a new solution even when it seems like I could just stay on a path because it would be so much easier. That knows when to hold them, when to fold them, and yes, even when to walk away.
I want to be the kind of teacher that keeps the students in mind at every moment and with every decision I make, even the ones where my own pride may suffer. The one that problem-solves rather than rants. The one that fixes rather than breaks.
I want to be the kind of teacher that realizes when something is not working and has the common sense to stop it. That tries an idea with all of their heart and then makes it better when it doesn’t quite work.
The kind of teacher that dreams. The kind of teacher that listens. The kind of teacher that has students who are willing to speak up even if they know the message may cause temporary hurt, but in the long run will create a path toward a solution.
I want to be the kind of teacher that sees the learning in every problem. That sees what can be salvaged rather than throws everything out. The kind that can see the good in something or someone even in the bleakest of moments.
Today, when I realized that my dream for epic discussions had failed, I wanted to throw it all out, but my students once again reminded me that there were good moments too, things that worked that deserved protection and resurrection in a new format. So instead of ranting. Instead of raving about all of the hard work lost, how I now had to start over, I reflected, re-imagined and am ready to go for tomorrow.
I want to be the kind of teacher that never forgets their own vulnerability but sees it as a strength rather than a weakness. That isn’t afraid to show the world failure to inspire others to grow. That remembers that not everything is bad, not everything is broken even if it seems so at the moment. That’s the kind of teacher I want to be. One day I’ll get there.
I am a passionate teacher in Oregon, Wisconsin, USA but originally from Denmark, 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. The second edition of my first book “Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classrooms Back to Our Students” will be published by Routledge in the fall. Second book“Empowered Schools, Empowered Students – Creating Connected and Invested Learners” is out now from Corwin Press. Join our Passionate Learners community on Facebook and follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.