Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Letting Go

These boxes may not look like much to you...

But these boxes represent a part of my life that I've held on to for a long time.

And, today I finally had the courage to let it go.

These boxes held miscellaneous teaching files & resources that I thought I might use again someday.  I graduated from college in 1992 with a degree in elementary and early childhood education.  Teaching jobs in our area aren't easy to come by because the college I graduated from is largely known as a teacher's college. The area is saturated with people with education degrees.

I was fortunate enough to have professors and other teachers that believed in me.  And, they put in good words for me.  I was offered a position for the school year right after I graduated.  That first position was teaching 6th grade.  It was a temporary position (no teaching contract) & I was considered a long term substitute.  But, I had that 6th grade class for the entire school year.

The following school year I was offered a position teaching 5th grade in the same district but a different elementary school.  Again, I was considered a long term substitute.  What I was hearing from my teaching colleagues is that this district often hired their teachers in this manner.  Usually, a teaching contract was offered in the third year.

But, for me that didn't happen.  Near the end of that second school year I met with the superintendent of the district and the school principal and they let me know that they would not be hiring me the following year.  I was devastated and my confidence as a teacher was completely shaken.  

Looking back through those files today I came across some evaluations that had been done on my teaching performance.  There was many positive things said, along with some constructive criticism.  But, overall my evaluations were good.  So, why wasn't I offered a contract?

 I know for one thing, I was very young.  I didn't apply myself as well as I could have.  Also, my early 20's marked the beginning of a period of rebellion.  I made huge mistakes and poor choices in the way I was living.  And, perhaps that was evident to those in supervision over me.

I never went back to teaching in the public school system.  I stayed in the education field working in various day cares & preschools in various capacities.  I even taught Kindergarten in one day care where I worked and went on to become the Assistant Director & then the Director of that center.  But, my confidence was so shaken that I didn't even try to apply to other schools for teaching positions.  And, now so much time has passed that I would need to take quite a few college credits to renew my teaching certificate. 

Still I kept those boxes filled with all my teaching stuff all these years.  I thought that maybe I'd teach again someday.  Or, perhaps I'd homeschool and could use them as resources.  And, they've sat in my attic untouched, unopened for years and years.

I've been trying to slowly purge my house of things that are of no use to me.  I'm not sure what prompted me to think of all those teaching boxes.  But, last week I posted a note on Facebook asking if any homeschoolers out there could use these things.  I knew I couldn't throw them away,  but there didn't seem to be any reason to keep them anymore.    I hoped that they would be useful for someone else.  Sure enough, a relative of ours has a homeschooling friend who was interested in taking the resources.

I looked through the boxes briefly today before they were picked up.  It was bittersweet.  There were reminders in there of how much fun I had in my classes.  Yet, it also brought up those lingering feelings of failure.  As I was closing the boxes, I was praying that God would help me forgive myself and to help me get over lost opportunties.

At that moment, my son Charlie came downstairs crying.  There had been some altercation between him and his brother upstairs.  And, as I was hugging him & comforting him I felt as though God was saying to me very clearly, 'This is your opportunity now.  The past is the past.  Nothing can change that.  Live in these moments I've given you now & be the mother I am calling you to be.'

I can honestly say that I feel a sense of relief & freedom since the boxes are no longer in my house.  I feel like I can move forward and stop looking backward.  And, I am challenged to live my life today in such a way that is pleasing to God.


  1. Karen, your post brought tears to my eyes. Good job passing on your things that might be of use to someone else. You and I have much in common...who knew?! I too graduated w/ an el. ed. degree in 1992. I had one long term ( 6 mos) position and that was the end of my teaching career. I felt so young...and I am also hearing impaired...and lacked the confidence in large settings where I might struggle to hear. I think having a degree is great (it took a lot of time and committment to get...oh and student loans!)...but it does not define who we are. By the way...I'm sure you were a wonderful teacher.

  2. Kerri, go figure that we had that in common. I didn't know that.
    The other difficult part for me is that my grandma was always so proud of me being a teacher & up until I became a SAHM she would always ask me when I'd get back into teaching.


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