Monday, September 17, 2012

Parting Is Not Always Sorrow

This entry is only slightly related to our upcoming adoption. As we worked to make room in our house for more children, many items got moved to a small storage room connected to our house. That storage room became over-filled, and we were faced with the need to purge items.

Two days ago, I made some of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. You might feel like I’m being a bit over-dramatic when I tell what these decisions had to do with, but if you’ve ever taught in a classroom, you will understand just how difficult these decisions can be.
You see, I said good-bye to every piece of paper, every manipulative, every storage bin, every idea book related to my five years as a kindergarten teacher. This was no small task. I spent several hours this past Saturday opening up three large bins, twelve smaller bins, two boxes of books, and three file boxes—all filled with a year’s worth of teaching supplies on the kindergarten level. These items have been sitting in my storage room for the past three years with hardly any use. When we started homeschooling, there was no need for all the worksheets, thematic bins, and large group lessons.

I was actually quite proud of myself as I went through each piece of paper, recalling hundreds of lessons. I had notes from parents, some good and some not so pleasant. I had a journal I had kept during my first year of teaching. I had pictures of students from 2004, when I had my first class (oh, how I loved that first year!). I didn’t cry once, but I did feel the pain as many items went straight to recycling and others went to a bin to be donated. It took many years to collect these items—some of them were collected when I was teaching preschool many years ago. It took just a few hours to part with them.

When I was finished, I was left with two full large bins, ten empty small bins, two boxes of books, and two bags full of Mailbox Magazines to give to a kindergarten teacher at our local public school. We took the donation to her today, and she was very appreciative of the gift. I was happy to see new life breathed into these items and also happy to have freed up much space in my house.

This doesn’t mean I will never teach professionally again. But as I intend to homeschool my children through high school, I don’t see myself returning to it for quite some time. Most of my collected items will be obsolete by then, with new ideas and trends taking over. I might as well let the old items go, to live a little longer in someone else’s classroom.