I did not love school as a child. I went. Did my work. Spent time with my friends. Followed the directions and did my homework, mostly. I did not hate school as a child. It simply didn’t have enough significance for me to garner much of my emotion. School was something you did, not something you loved.
Yet, as a teacher, I love school. I love the feeling of coming into my classroom in the early morning hush waiting for the students to fill it. I love the deserted hallways after the last bell has rung and the remnants of forgotten pencils remind us that the kids were just here. I love the ideas. I love the creativity. The freshly sharpened pencils, the unused pens, the brand new books that are crying out to be read. The camaraderie that exists in my school, the stories that are shared, the laughing, the tears, and even the frustration when we just can’t seem to get that one thing right. I love the passion that goes into creation a community. But most of all, I love the kids.
I love the kids and their faith in us that this year will be incredible. I love the kids and how raw they can be, daring us to believe in them when they have stopped believing in themselves. I love the kids and their uncovered stories, their attempts at fitting in, and the way they secretly look for guidance even when they try to push us away.
I love the kids because if I didn’t I shouldn’t be teaching.
I love the kids because my job as a teacher is not to love the learning, the teaching, or the content. It is to passionately believe that the kids I get to be with have something amazing to give to the world. All of them. And so as we prepare ourselves for a new year here in the United States, I hope that we all keep in mind that we are here for the kids. That school is about the kids. Not us. That we became teachers not to kill the love of learning, but to protect it. So if you don’t love the kids, please take a moment to think about what you should be doing. Take a moment to reconsider. Teaching isn’t about us, it is about them. And we start from a place of love.
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.