What matters as I close the door

So last weekend I packed up my classroom. To be able to put 22 years into boxes just seems wrong. My classroom space is a place I love deeply; love being in, love puttering around, love sharing with my kids.

And I guess this has been “my problem’ this past week. I carted the boxes home and piled them up in our den. But there they sat all week. What do I do with them? Does the stuff (as hubby pointed out to me several times) have any purpose? Will I ever even use any of it?

But that is not the point. The point is. That’s all I’ve got to take with me.

As I step away and shut the door. It is not the binders; I did or did not get perfectly organized. Nor is it the review packs for the exam that I did or did not finally format perfectly. Nor even is the biology that I did or did not teach.

No, none of that rushes through my mind. Instead what I see, hear and feel are the moments with my kids.

I see Tina, my fearless paddling partner sea kayaking in Belize.

I see Kelly and Kenny getting “lost” out paddling the Broken Islands.

I hear Lori’s letter to me.

I hear Lindsay’s heartfelt speech about her outdoor Ed experience for the Miss Tail competition.

I feel hugging Emily at her grad party.

I hear Freya’s laughing fit as we try to record our video.

I hear Peter’s sea-gull impression in the middle of the night Kokanee Glacier cabin.

I feel the heartbreaking goodbyes and python like hugs.

I hear my class singing together, while we hold hands, at the end of our time together.

I see the rain forest habitat we built as a class.

I hear the conversation with Jeff outside in the cold about his mother.

I see April’s quilt she assembled from each of our self-constructed patches.

There are many, many moments.

And these moments are what I try to gather up with me as I go.

None of it, none of it…has one bit to do with curriculum, tests, or marks.

Each cherished second is about connections. Yes teaching is a hard job. But what is so hard is not the work, it is the letting go of these children you love and the tiny little holes they leave in your heart. Holes in my heart, that get filled again the following year but never exactly in the same way.

As I go to my new place and I lay out my wooden bowl from Ricky, my clay pot from Jen, my treasured wooden dolphin from my sea kayakers, I feel a sharp pang of pain; I don’t know if this is right, I don’t know if this is my place. It is hard to let go. So very hard and I have kept them, the moments, at bay. The boxes siting all week, untouched, unpacked and ignored.

This morning I got up to finally face them, forced by the arrival of house guests, I see them all. All my kids and our moments together, most laughing, but shared tears, stories, gossip sessions, shared dreams and yes even fights. My boxes so unequal to them. My boxes not representing any of it.

I am ready for change, I am. I am full of excitement for what lies ahead.

I just need to take stock of my gifts, see them again, and savour them again.

I close the door for the last time. Lights out.


In August I begin work with our District’s Instructional Leadership Team (see I am moving!)



3 thoughts on “What matters as I close the door

  1. Good luck. I’m sure you’ll have fun and help plenty. Give my pal Lindsay Gibson hell ok! 🙂

  2. Carolyn,

    What a lovely post….and a powerful message. Focussing on what “matters” is so important and I am so happy to see that you have obviously got it 😉 I hope many of our newer EDUcators get this as early in their careers as possible.

    TYSM for sharing.

    Take care,


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