Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I'm a Loser

As the Edublog Award ceremony train passed right through my station tonight without an award or acknowledgement, I couldn't help but feel like a loser. A big loser, in fact. It wasn't that I had expected to win or even place, I am much too Danish to ever think highly of myself, but sometimes you let your imagination run away with you for a split second.

So there I was tonight, where I should be occupied with my insane 23 month old daughter, the surgery I am having tomorrow, or my husband who worked a 12 hour day. Instead, I found myself having a little pity party and it was sad to say the least. In fact, it was so pathetic that it made me think of why I have grown to despise awards in my classroom. You see, I felt like the outsider tonight. Like I was not cool enough to be recognized or even mentioned. Like the kid that sits along at lunch hoping someone will strike up a conversation. Like the kid that no matter how hard they try for the teacher to notice them, they just fall short.

So what is it with awards that can get even the most levelheaded anti-award teacher to behave like a love-stricken teenager hoping for their first kiss? Is it really that we just want someone to say we notice you? You make a difference? You work hard? We believe in what you do? I don't know. Because really those things are said to me by the amazing members of my family, friends, and my PLN often. Do we just not believe it when it comes from people that know us? Must it be from total strangers to feel like proper recognition? Or is it the group recognition? Of being given an award in front of others so that they know how important you are? I am still trying to dissect my emotions and find myself again. The one that doesn't have a ridiculously bruised ego, the one that feels like they belong and that others care. Either way, I am moving on, proud of my nomination, eager to add the winners to my feed, and strengthened in my resolve to not have awards or rewards in my classroom. After all, if a 30 year old teacher that knows better can get this silly over a missed reward then imagine what it does to a kid. Lesson learned again.


Wm Chamberlain said...

I have been nominated 7 times and never been in the top three. Do I feel like a loser? Sometimes, but I had 76 visitors to my blog in the last month from the Edublog Award site. I am relatively sure that means I had a lot of first time visitors. Not too bad, right?

George Couros said...

Also think of this. Would many of the people who always follow your blog because you didn't win? I won't. It is the content that is important, not the award.

I still think you are great :)

Henrietta Miller said...

I am so with you on this but at least you were nominated. I was pathetically upset not to even be nominated! I love reading your blog though so keep up the great reflections

Jabiz Raisdana (Intrepid Teacher) said...

Some thoughts:

Saya said...

I am a first time visitor here, and I love your blog already :)
Thank you for the edblog nomination... There are so many good education blogs, and, it's hard to even find every single one of them...
I tend to read more of preschool related blogs because of my occupation... but I'm really glad to find you!

Nancy Teaches said...

At the end of the day, we all want to feel what we say matters. We want to be heard. The awards make you feel even more validated, so not crossing the proverbial finish line, can be upsetting. As a fellow blogger, I know the effort we put into every sentence, word choice, etc. Thank you for sharing your deepest feelings with us. It takes courage to do so. I'm grateful for your blog and the thought provoking posts. That pretty much makes you a winner in my little corner of the world.

rcantrell said...

Pernille, I'm with George. Your topics and comments are so honest, relevant, and reflective. This piece is a perfect example. Your not receiving an award will take your blogging to a new level. Your following will grow as you continue to share those wonderful thoughts and ideas racing through your head. We are all more effective educators and learners because of you! Share on Ripp! I appreciate and enjoy your blog.

TLanning said...

We notice you and appreciate you. You work hard and you make a difference. You don't need an award to tell you that. I followed your posts before and will continue to now because I enjoy them and learn from you. Keep it up! :)

Mrs Ripp aka 4thGrdTeach said...

Dear fantastic friends, fellow teachers, perhaps even fellow losers? Thank you so much for your comments. I was in no way looking for validation, or at least consciously I wasn't. I blog to keep myself honest and this was something I needed to get out. Thank you for reading, for writing, for discussion, for encouraging. the power of other human beings to affect one soul's never ceases to amaze me. I am humbled that you read, perhaps even a little confounded as to why, but thank you nonetheless. This was a very strong lesson for me and something that will take me time to digest, I am grateful for the opportunity.

Mike T said...

I follow your blog and appreciate what you do and what you post. Keep it up, and you'll continue to realize that the greatest awards come from within.

Doceo said...

For what it's worth:

I am a secondary level teacher whose experience is limited to grades 7-12.

We have never met.

I find your personal reflections on your classroom to be both inspiring and challenging.

I've tweeted some of your posts to the Gates Foundation.

At the risk of sounding like a're the kind of professional I want to work with in the places I teach.

Thank you for writing. Your audience--no matter the size--appreciates your influence.

gret said...

Hi Pernille,
I've learned and grown so much thanks to your blog. Your blog is a winner to me. I love all your posts. Each time you post something, I check it out right away, no matter how busy I am, I just can't wait to read it.
I agree with George and Rich... It's the content that matter.
As we say to our students: Keep blogging, Keep up the awesome work, and of course, I'm really looking forward to reading your next post!

Miss Cheska said...

I agree with George. It is the content that matters! I follow and read your blog because I enjoy and appreciate what you share with us. While it is nice to get recognition now and then, the thing is you didn't start blogging to get that award. So thanks for sharing it all, even these feelings about losing, because it takes a lot of guts to write about it and put it out on the blogosphere :)

Chris Wejr said...

Ok, Pernille, after reading every one of your blogs over the past several months, I know that you are not looking for validation with this post. I hope that readers see this VERY important post for what it is... the questioning of awards. I am so happy for your honesty with this. How many other people felt this way? How many other people got wrapped up in the awards nominations and for a brief moment, forgot why they wrote? Think of how many other "losers" this silly awards thing creates. There is one quote that is on my wall by Larry Cuban, "how we teach becomes what we teach" - we need to model what we think is great for education. Your reflection is key here - are these awards good for education? If adults get all worked up about awards, what does this say to kids?
As you know, I have worked hard at my school to end awards - and one of the points to my argument is that we don't award adults and teachers. I have actually said to my staff, "I don't write for an award"... what if I was nominated and then promoted that, what would this say to my staff and students about awards?
Anyways, you have touched on another passionate topic for me and that is why I love your blog. I know you have already reflected on this awards thing and if there is one good thing that has come out of these... it is the fact that you have related this to kids. Well done, Pernille. From one educator to another, I am proud of you for this post (and many others).

Cyberjohn07 said...


After reading your post, a comment by Dean Shareski came to mind. "Blogging should be a required activity of all teachers." Dean felt it lead to thoughtful reflective practice. I, on the other hand see it as an activity largely done in solitude, with little feedback and less praise yet the effects can be far reaching and profound. Sound familiar? Blogging is so much like teaching. We do it because we love it and could not imagine doing anything else.

As for recognition and rewards - I've been blogging,almost daily for more then 4 years. In that time I've gathered a following of ten thousand+ subscribers/followers and the site has received close to 100,000 hits (Not exactly viral but it's what keeps me going.). This week I received a mention in the school district new letter.

An Edublog nomination, not even on my radar. It's the people, not the praise.


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