All educators are busy. I don’t know a single one who finishes the day and says, “I have way too much time on my hands.” In my opinion though, there is a certain class of educators, who have somehow located the twenty fifth and sixth hour of the day. Pernille Ripp safely falls into this category. I have always been fascinated by Pernille’s ability to seemingly do everything at once. Pernille, is a fifth grade teacher, founder of the Global Read Aloud, prolific writer and blogger, and mother to three young children (with one on the way!).
Simply put…how do you do it? How do you have so much going on in your life (family, school, blogs, etc) and still maintain some quotient of sanity?
Simply put, I don’t know. There are great days and then there are days where I feel like I am not enough in any place. I wish I could say that it is all a matter of priorities and making it work but that is BS. Staying on top of it requires a ton of work, attention, and concentration and it can be absolutely mindblowingly draining. BUT! I love it and so I do it. And I have to be busy or I would go crazy, me on maternity leave is not a fun person to be around.
What has been the most surprising gift that parenting has given to you in relationship to the work you do?
That I get what it means to send your kid off to strangers. Thea just started school and it was big moment of trust and worry to me. I kept wondering if her teacher would “get” her or even like her. We have been so lucky for her to have a great first year of school but I worry about having teachers that won’t like her. I want to make sure that all the kids that enter my room are given a fair chance and feel loved and respected because of that.
What is one tip that you would give to teachers who are new to being a parent teacher?
To really use their own experiences as a parent and that unconditional love and try to pull that into the classroom. I always look at a student and remember that they are someone’s child first and foremost and that they may act completely different with their parents. Kids deserve to be loved by their parents and by their teachers.
With so much going on with having a family, How do you maintain and build positive relationships with your real life colleagues?
It is limited but the moments I do have with them I make count. My 5th grade team and I try to have lunch together every day even if just for 10 minutes. My extended teams I try to stop by their rooms, have coffee, or even have dinner with. We text, we call and we Facebook to stay in touch too. I also try to go to school functions to see my students and my colleagues. We have to have each other’s back and feel that we have someone we can go to in the school when we need to. I am very lucky with the people I work with and the relationships I have been able to build.
In what ways has parenting confirmed, challenged and/or changed your pedagogical approach?
It has confirmed my belief that parents always have good intentions when they bring something negative to our attention, and also that they probably put a great deal of thought into it before they did. It has also confirmed the need for limited homework and changing the way education is done. Families deserve to have a life outside of school as much as teachers do.