Before You Give Up On “Those” Teachers

We have all heard of them; those teachers.  Those teachers with their negativity.  Those teachers with their fixed mindset.  Those teachers that don’t like children, that don’t like change, that will always, always be the one who says no.  Those teachers are at every school, often with the strongest voices, often with the most power.  And we cannot wait for them to quit.

Yet, before we give up on those teachers, before we push them out, write them off, and definitely talk behind their back, stop for just a minute.  Because those teachers had a dream once.  Those teachers came into this profession wanting to inspire, to change, to create.  They didn’t come to be the naysayers or the ones that brought us down.  They came into this profession wanting to be the very best teachers they could be.  To reach every kid and truly make a difference.  To be the type of teacher that kids don’t forget, that leave their door open,and that try to and try and try.  And yet, along the way something happened.  And that something changed them at their very core.  Changed their dreams and their optimism.  Changed them to become something they never thought thy would be.

And here’s the thing.  We will never know what that something is for a person.  We will never know how many times they stood up and fought until to be broken down.  We will never know how many times they were told to find their place, stay quiet, and keep their dreams to themselves.  We will never know what path they walked to take them where they are now.

So before you give up on those teachers take a moment and ask; why did you become a teacher?  What was your dream?  What happened and what can I do?

Because those teachers are just like us, they just got a little lost.  They don’t need to be pushed out, they need to be re-found.  So do your share, don’t give up, because just like we continue to find new ways to reach all students, we need to find ways to reach all teachers.

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.  The second edition of my first book Passionate Learners – How to Engage and Empower Your Students” is available for pre-order now.   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.

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3 thoughts on “Before You Give Up On “Those” Teachers

  1. I really needed this! I was doing a training last week and two of the teachers I was training were very, very beaten down. I knew by messages such as “the kids can’t do this!” and “this is not aligned to the test!” even though they were implementing a brand new blended learning program. Of course, there were other teachers who were excited and energized, but when you come across deep skepticism and negativity it makes a powerful impact…sadly, more powerful than any amount of enthusiasm. I think sometimes teachers who take that position see the power to take apart, perhaps in the same way their dreams and aspirations were dismantled.

    Thank you!

  2. Disagree slightly in some cases. My children were unfortunate enough to experience an English teacher who was totally incompetent and clearly needed to be “pushed out”. And although our Dean knew of the incompetence based on a multitude of complaints from parents, she was powerless to push her out because of tenure. Since it was a small charter school, this teacher “taught” both 9th and 10th grade English. So, my children were fundamentally without English class until their junior and senior years. This teacher was way beyond being “re-found”.

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