You Are Not “Just” A Teacher

“I am just a teacher.”  How many times have we said it without even realizing it?  Without realizing how much we are cutting ourselves down?  How many times have we started our retort, offered an idea, or even pushed back with these words?  I am just a teacher so no one has to listen to me.  I am just a teacher so my ideas don’t have value.  I am just a teacher so what do I know…

But here’s the thing, you are not just a teacher.  You are so much more.

You are the first line of defense for a child’s love of learning.  The original believer in all children.  The person who every day gets up and thinks that they can truly make a difference.

You are a dream-builder.  A planner. A wonder-er.

You are a compass for those who may be lost.  A map for those who need to find a way.  And a flashlight for those who have lost their vision.

You are not just a teacher, you are a pair of arms for those who feel the world is against them.  A shoulder for those who need to cry.   Ears that will listen to whose who feel no one hears their voice anymore.

You are someone who believes even when others don’t.  You are someone who fights even after all seems lost.  You are someone who never, ever gives up even when a child has given up on themselves.

You are not “just” a teacher, but instead a warrior whose urgency only grows with every child we meet.  A campaigner for others to believe in the good that you see in a child.  A window opener when all the doors have been closed.

You are the family that some children don’t get to have.  You are someone who cares with everything you do.  You are the voice of reason when others speak nonsense.

You are the last line of defense when others say no more, nothing else, we are done.

So yes, you may just be a teacher but think of what you are to all of those kids that you teach.  Think of what you can be.  And then think of what they will do knowing you were their teacher.  So the next time you find yourself saying you are just a teacher, wear that title with pride.  You are just a teacher, but teachers change the world.

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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7 thoughts on “You Are Not “Just” A Teacher

  1. I’ve found myself saying it periodically, especially when not around other educators. The given political climate and state of education in Wisconsin makes it challenging, at times, to rip open the shirt and show the superman passion we have for the profession. I fully agree with this one though, Pernille. Absolutely crucial that we pat ourselves on the back at times and know that we are making a difference.

  2. Dear Pernille
    Thank you for this wonderful posting! I just retired from teaching high school after 29 years and 4033 students – and I can say that teaching can be very challenging, the hours are long and sometimes tedious – but the rewards are great. I have watched many of my students grow into independent, hard working, and successful adults. I’ve enjoyed meeting their spouses, and in some cases even teaching their children. My greatest reward has been to have former students become my colleagues, and to welcome my daughter into our profession. To all my fellow teachers – thank you for what you’re doing – you really are making a difference! Be proud of who you are! Be proud of what you do!

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