aha moment, being me, Passion

When You Feel Like a Bad Day Kind of Teacher

Sometimes we realize that we are not enough.  That we do not have the answers.  That we do not have that one magical thing that will make everything better.  That when they handed out the innovative teacher awards, we would not get one, not that day, not that week.  Sometimes we realize that we are not the perfect person, nor the perfect teacher.  That we do not have all of the answers, nor do we even know where to look.  And then we realize that that is ok.  And we can breathe.  And we can celebrate.  Because being a perfectly ordinary great teacher does not mean that we only have great days.

That no one ever meant for us to be perfect.  That no one ever meant for us to have the perfect answer at the perfect time for every single student.  That it is ok for us to say, “I don’t know…Let me think….I will get back to you.”  That our attempts may sometimes fail.  That parents may sometimes get upset.  That kids may sometimes roll their eyes and groan when you teach.  Add that’s ok.  That we can be imperfect and still be great teachers.  That we can have flaws and still connect with kids.  That we may have bad days but they do not have to represent us.  That not knowing is not an inherent flaw but rather an opportunity to learn, to connect, to get better.  That having a bad day should not define us but instead inspire us.  That we choose what we keep trying.  That we choose how we keep moving forward.

That even when we think we cannot figure it out, there is still a path forward, we just have to put one foot in front of the other.

That’s what teaching 7th grade has taught me.  And I am forever grateful for the lesson.

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.

3 thoughts on “When You Feel Like a Bad Day Kind of Teacher”

  1. Pernille, of course we are not perfect by any means! We need to share this with our students, parents and colleagues. A principal once advised me not to focus on the one student, parent or colleague who causes us to have a ‘ bad day’. He said: “Focus on the other 24 students in your class and their parents who respect and support what you are trying to achieve”. This is sometimes easier said than done! Yes, we learn from our mistakes or what others view as our failures, ( but it is at times challenging not to allow things to get us). As you say ‘it is our choice to move forward….’

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