Friday, March 9, 2012

I Must Apologize Beforehand - A Serial Apologizer Apologizes


Image from here


I have to start out by saying I am sorry for what I am about to post.  It may offend, it may irk you a little, so thus the apology beforehand.  See there now you are disarmed and perhaps it wont really be so bad, after all, the apology has already been given.

I am serial apologizer.  Not for my life really but for the way I teach.  I don't flash the way I work in my classroom, which sounds ludicrous since I blog about it, but if you catch me in conversation, I am not one to tell you that what my kids do is pretty spectacular.  That the kind of community I am part sometimes makes me deliriously happy.  That I am so proud of all the work my students do, of the risks we take, and the mountains we climb.  I don't flaunt it because that would be too offensive.

And yet, for every time I hide what I do.  For every time I don't stand by the choices I have made in case I may offend someone, I chip away at my own desire as a teacher to be a world changer.  My own world, the world of my students, and perhaps even the greater world outside of my room.  For every time I wrap my teaching philosophy in apologies a little bit of it gets duller, less fantastic, until I wonder what I will be left with.

So why is it I feel the need to apologize?  Because I am different?  Because I have opinions?  Because I vehemently believe that the focus has to be on the needs of the students and not that of the teacher?  Because I believe in honest communication and not veiled lingo?  Because I believe that you have to fight for change from within in any way you can and give your students that voice?  Because I believe that we have to get the students involved in their own education so we don't lose them, after all education should not be done to them but with them?

I am not sure, I am sorry, I really don't know  But it is making me think that I need to stop.  I am starting to think that I need to stand by what I do a little taller, a little prouder and not diminish the choices I have made.  The choice to be different in an otherwise cookie-cutter educational system because it is what I believe in.  The choice to throw away punishment, lecturing, homework and grades as much as I can and instead focus on knowledge, exploration and the need to fail over and over again.  The choice to change, the choice to not do it the way I was taught, and the choice to take risks.  After all, it is working, I am sorry, but it is true.

4 comments:

@mk8g said...

Kudos for the wonderful things you are doing in your classroom! When I downplay what we do in my classroom I wonder if it because I do not want the other teachers to be uncomfortable. What we do, what works, what research suports, is so different from what they do, that it makes me downplay no rewards/no grades/less homework to not highlight how different our methods are...Keep being a game changer :)

Ann and Celina said...

Pernille, Great post! Celina and I just had the directive to share our program with our staff. I too approached it from a careful apologetic stance, not wanting to offend anyone. Looking out at the body language from some and overwhelmed looks from others, I recognized that not everyone gets it, but maybe today they are at least considering it. This child first perspective has been seriously transformational. Our kids are thriving and so are we! So I'm with you, let's stand tall.

Patti Grayson said...

Do you notice that you feel the need to apologize most within the walls of your own school? You know your PLN thinks you rock. You are an inspiration to many of us, doing the things we haven't been as brave to do, and giving us the courage to try keep putting it out there - we need you!

Mrs Ripp aka @pernilleripp said...

Oh yes Patti, I think it is much more apparent that what i do is different from many within our school homes. When I blog I am reaching people that nod in agreement most of the time but even within my city when I discuss what I do some people think I am crazy.

 

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