aha moment, Be the change, being me, learning, lessons learned, teachers

Try To Be You


I have been surrounded by greatness for a while now it seems.  It has been awe-inspiring to hear the stories of what amazing educators are doing in their schools as I go to conferences.  It has been profound to see the supposed ease with which some of my colleagues at Oregon Middle School navigate their days.  I am not there yet, I don’t know if I will ever be.

So this past year has been one of inspiration, but it has also been one of frustration.  I have left many conversations wondering why I am not doing that, why I didn’t think of that.  Read a book and wondered how I can become that teacher.  Heard a speaker and wondered what I need to change to be them.   And yet, tonight I realized that I will never be someone else.  That when I try to be someone else that I lose the very essence that makes me me.  That when we try to imitate, even the best ideas, they will never fully be what we hope for them to be but only shadows of the original.

So do be inspired this summer.  Read a book, start a conversation, go to a conference and meet amazing people.  Learn from them.  Create with them.  But don’t try to be them.  You never will be. I never will be.  We can only be ourselves so change accordingly.  Find ideas that will inspire you to be a better teacher but don’t try to be someone else.  It will never work, our students will see right through it.  Instead make a vow to better yourself, trust your own ideas, and know that you, you are amazing too.  You may just not have discovered it yet.

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.

5 thoughts on “Try To Be You”

  1. Thank you! I fall into that trap frequently. Feeling that I will never measure up and be “as good” as other colleagues. The reminder that I don’t need to be “as good” as someone else to be the best ME.

  2. Thank you so much for this post. Having access to so many incredible blogs and books is wonderful because it gives professionals a chance to share and learn together, but I do find myself constantly amazed by what others do and somewhat frustrated that I am unable to do as well or as much. This is a very timely reminder as I begin to think about the coming year.

  3. Thank you for this- it taps into exactly how I have been feeling. I have been reading a ton this summer- your blog included, as always, as well as the ebook version of Passionate Learners which I bought last year and never got the chance to read thoroughly- and feeling inspired. This week I started to feel overwhelmed on where to begin: how to become the teacher that would create these environments and be so engaging, patient, trusting, communicative and you name it. Today I became aware of the summer waning (we go back August 12th) and wanting to have a game plan. Your advice comes at the perfect time.

  4. Thank you for this post. I’m a quiet, introverted teacher, and I often want to be “the funny teacher” or the one with a big personality. I won’t be that person. And my students don’t need everyone to be that person. They need the person I already am, just continually getting better and better at being the teacher I am.

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