My students told me to stand proud. To make sure I made eye contact. To speak up and smile. Maybe play music and crack a joke. To do all of the things I ask them to do every time they speak. “Tell them what we tell you…we need to change school, no joke”
I stand today, privileged to speak to other educators about the way we do education, about the things we may want to change. I stand today ready to carry my students’ words out into the world. I stand today, nervous and with butterflies in my stomach, knowing that those things my students tell me day after day now have an audience to be passed on to. I don’t want to let them down.
Yet, I am not alone. All of us that write, all of us that speak, all of us that go out and discuss education whether globally or locally, we carry the words of our students with us. We carry the awesome responsibility that comes with being in classrooms or schools every day. We carry the knowledge of what may work work and what definitely doesn’t. We carry the words students give us so that they have a voice. We carry the stories of our students and what they do every day. We carry their words when they can’t.
So before we speak of THAT kid that drove us crazy. Before we speak of THAT class that just wouldn’t listen. Before we speak about THAT school that didn’t work; remember that we choose what the narrative of education is. Remember that within our words we carry all of their words, all of their thoughts, all of their hopes. We just have to decide what we share with the world. We decide what story is told about education; one of frustration or one of change. The choice is always ours.
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.