Friday, July 24, 2015


So this post is inspired by Pernille Ripp (@pernilleripp), a 7th grade teacher in Wisconsin. She wrote a blog post, I Would Be a Liar. in which, she talks about her popularity and reminds us that everything is never about us, it is always about the kids. This is a wonderfully humble position, but #EDUheroes, it IS about you. You inspire us, you keep us going, you make us better teachers for our kids, as well as being tremendous educators to your own.

As rewarding as it can be to be an educator, there's a dark side. It can be heartbreaking and soul crushing. Hundreds of teachers cannot handle it, and leave the profession. Such a thing can happen even 12 years in. This past school year, my job changed drastically. I went from a 33% to 100% fixed schedule, and I lost my media assistant, becoming responsible for shelving all the library books. My budget for purchasing books was slashed by 80%. In the current economic times, this isn't out of the ordinary, and you're expected to adjust and keep going. My adjustment was particularly hard because I started having debilitating migraines, causing me to miss many days of work.

I often felt overwhelmed, and most of all guilty, feeling like I was letting my students down. I seriously wondered if it was time for me to walk away from being an educator, even though I wanted to be a school librarian from the time I was a little girl.

Even though that teacher light dimmed in me, it never went out. I still read the Nerdy Book Club entries everyday and I read tons of kidlit books like always. John Schu, @MrSchuReads, with his 25,000+ followers, somehow noticed that I wasn't posting on Twitter and would send me DMs to check on me. I needed to find a piece of information from Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller (@donalynbooks). I reread the whole book just so I could hear Donalyn's voice speak to me about reading.

Sometime in February the information about #nErDcampMI started coming in from Colby and Alaina Sharp, two more #EDUheroes who teach in Parma, MI. The day after my birthday, March 16, Mr. Schu posted about Scholastic #ReadingSummit and I signed up that very day. It was survival mode the rest of the year, but I didn't quit, looking forward to seeing my #EDUheroes in person. Being around my nerdy friends (old and new) at #nErDcampMI lifted my spirits so very much. I was excited to meet Pernille. Her nerdtalk brought the house down, and then she led a session on Day Two that helped inspire my sister Amy Ralph (@lehmanac), also a librarian, to share her current frustrations and to start her own blog. #ReadingSummit was another celebration of the love of reading and further cemented my commitment to my job as a librarian. I bought books, was given books (partially under duress) and even gave away books. It was glorious.

Never underestimate your impact! I'm not going to be a Pernille, Colby, Donalyn or John. Even if you only have a few followers, you can still be a #EDUhero to someone, and you may never even know it. Yes, we are here for the kids, but we also need to be here for each other so we can be here for the kids. Thank you all for being here for me.


  1. You r post spoke to me on so many levels, because I too at times feel like I am swimming upstream, even working in my amazing district. So coming to NerdCamp, meeting people who are as passionate about books as I am, was truly a jolt of energy and a reimagination of what we can do as teachers. You, in my eyes, are already an #eduhero - how many people would have quit, but you didn't. You fought for your dream and I wish you nothing but strength and courage in the future.

  2. Thank you! Nerd Camp is amazing! It is so worth the trip from NC. How great it is to have a national PLN is help enhance my teaching. I am ready to put last year behind me and rock 2015-2016!

  3. Your last paragraph is one of the reasons I started my blog... today! Reflection is so important. I want to be an EDUhero for myself, my students, and my family. Followers are secondary, because you never know who you can help. Thank you for your inspiration!

  4. Exactly! I love having a large Personal Learning Community outside my school and district though; I have grown so much as an educator through the relationships I have built through the Nerdy Book Club!

  5. You made it! Now you know you can accomplish anything! We can create a strong team together!

    1. Thanks Wendy! You definitely helped me get through it. I'm so glad you're still going to be there this year!