being a teacher, being me

I Didn’t Become A Teacher


I didn’t become a teacher so I could test my students into submission.  So I could talk about them as data points and chart their growth on a spreadsheet.

I didn’t become a teacher so that I could make students cry.  Or make them smile on command, make them sit still, make them schedule their breaks to my own benefit.  Punish them into submission while I wondered why they seemed so disengaged.

I didn’t become a teacher so I could tell children which books they couldn’t read, where they couldn’t sit, and who they couldn’t work with.

I became a teacher so that I could help students make their voice louder.  Help students believe more in themselves.  Help students grow, learn, and thrive.

I became a teacher to help students find the guts to say, “This is what I need, this is what I want.”

I became a teacher not to kill a child’s love of learning, but to protect it.

And that is the reason why I am still a teacher to this day.  I don’t want to forget that.

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.

8 thoughts on “I Didn’t Become A Teacher”

  1. Thank you Pernille for articulating so accurately my feelings exactly! You are an inspiration this summer as I reflect on what my students really need versus what people would don’t work with kids think they need. Teachers as protectors of childhood and love of learning! Never thought that would become my job description but it is a battle cry!

  2. Pernille,
    I simply love reading your posts. They set me thinking and help me reflect on my teaching.
    As for this very last post, I share similar feelings.
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Pernille,

    Thank you for your inspiration. I wish I had the confidence to say what you so beautifully express. So many times what you have said is exactly what is on my heart. Again , thank you for all that you do! You are truly a gift to our precious students and educators!

    Robin Read

    Special Education Teacher -Intermediate Building

    Patuxent-Appeal Campus


  4. This breaks my heart because it’s exactly why I left teaching and why so many other teachers have too. I read many of your posts and hear only the good stuff forgetting that this post reflects a huge part of every teacher’s life these days. Why is such a wonderful job so frustrating for so many? What can influence change or is teaching destined to become more and more challenging and in opposition to its true nature and purpose? It’s heartbreaking.

  5. Thanks Pernille. Your second to last statement makes me think of what Malcolm Gladwell talks about in Outliers and the importance of helping kids develop a sense of assertiveness in order for them to learn social intelligence. I’m tagging it in my file archives.

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