being a teacher, being me

Look for the One

There is always one moment of good, our job is to find it. @pernilleripp

This year has been a year of amazing reflection opportunities for me.  This year has brought these incredibly resilient and demanding (in all of the best ways) students into my life.  There have been glorious days and then there have been those days where I feel like the worst kind of teacher.  Where I feel like all of my best laid plans, all of my great intentions, all of the dreams that I carefully crafted meant nothing, did nothing and I stand there feeling like the worst kind of teacher.  I am not alone.  As speak to my fellow educators, we all have those days, we all have those long nights where we reflect on what we did wrong and how we can get better.  So I write this to myself, to all of us, for the days where I feels like nothing went right.   I write this a reminder, as a message on the days where I forget.  On those days where we all forget.

Dear you,

I am so sorry that today seemed like one of those days where there was a perfect storm.  Where we seemed stretched too thin and it is almost as if kids picked up on it and every single thing that could go wrong, went wrong in the worst of ways.  As if every dormant issue rose up and came alive to create one glorious, awful day.  Where we feel like a bad day kind of teacher and we are not sure just what to do.

So know this, as you lick your wounds and go home downtrodden; it is one day.  One day of awful.  One day of not so great among many days of great.  Know this; that what separates the good from the bad is that you choose to go home and not blame the children, but instead look at what you could have done better.  Asking; how can I make it better and telling yourself that tomorrow will be a better day.

And on those days, when that feeling of awful settles into your stomach, ready to overshadow your night, then you must look for the one moment.  The one moment where what you did mattered.  The one moment where what you did today was not a complete loss for that one kid.  Because there is always one kid.  Even when everything else burns around us and our walls come down and we feel like the biggest fraud in the classroom, and we feel like we are a part of the problem and not the solution.  There is one kid who had a good moment today, and so your job is now to find that one good thing.   To find that one good thing so that you will remember that even the best teachers have bad days.  That you are better than you think you are.  And that having a bad day is just that; a human being having a bad day, and because you had a bad day does not make you a bad teacher, nor does it mean that tomorrow will be bad.

So look for the one.

Look for the one thing that you forgot, that you missed as you look back on the day.  Hold on to that one as you think of the bad and don’t beat yourself up too much.  We were never promised it would be easy but only that it would be worth it.

I am currently working on a new literacy book.  The book, which I am still writing, is tentatively Passionate Readers and will be published in the summer of 2017 by Routledge.  I also have a new book coming out December, 2017 called Reimagining Literacy Through Global Collaboration, a how-to guide for those who would like infuse global collaboration into their curriculum.    So until then if you like what you read here, consider reading my book Passionate Learners – How to Engage and Empower Your Students.  Also, if you are wondering where I will be in the coming year or would like to have me speak, please see this page.


5 thoughts on “Look for the One”

  1. Such perfect timing Pernille! Yesterday we had teachers out with no subs. I woke up to temperatures of -28 degrees. Children with the stomach flu lined up in front of the office with garbage cans. We had 30 students go home sick. I got up this morning dreading another day. But as I read your post, I remembered a moment yesterday with a young 3rd grade boy. Typically defiant and noncompliant, yesterday he ran up and hugged me and told me he thought division was “fun.” Wow.. I’m taking that moment with me today instead of all the other negative thoughts. Hope you have a great Friday!

  2. Thank you for that reminder, Pernille. It is so easy to focus on the negative. Recently, I have been so focused on how my grade sevens aren’t reading at home. And then a boy told me he’s read more books this year than any other year. We need to remember Rome wasn’t built in a day…

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