Be the change, new year, reflection

Please Find the Courage to Let Go

image from etsy

The decisions weigh heavy on me every night; does it go with us?  Does it stay behind?  Is it useful or does it carry meaning?  Do I have space for it in our new life, at our new house?  With every decision, no matter how hard, the whisper of a new beginning comes to me.  This home with all of its moments has been ours for 13 years.  It has held us close while we cried over the loss of grandparents, refused job offers, and even losing the hopes of a baby.  Yet, its logs has also been the frame for the promise of new careers, for birthdays and weddings.  It has welcomed home 4 children, when no one thought it was possible.  It has had its flaws, but it has been ours and every thing in it carries our story within,

Giving up ones possessions is hard.  Sure, magazines and experts make it sound  like an easy task; clean out, clean up, start fresh.  And yet, when the decision is yours to be made, the pull of sentimentality is strong, the what if I need it some day rings loud, and the ease of maybe I will just put it in the basement deceives.  So I pack, and I unpack, and then I take a deep breath and realize that it is not the things that are hard to say goodbye to, it is the fear of losing the memories that go with them.  It is the ease with which I can place these things around my new house, find a purpose for them perhaps, or otherwise let them keep collecting dust just in case.  It is the familiar, and the familiar, even if it means clutter and too much stuff is comforting and safe.

Our teaching is a lot like our house.  We accumulate ideas, theories, and lessons throughout the years.  We use some right away and they become our standard go-to pieces, ones we could not imagine teaching without.  Others we shelve away for later and sometimes “later” does indeed come.  Many ideas sit in our cabinets or even just our brains, waiting for that day where  they have their turn.  Other ideas we use because others did and it seems to be the right thing to do.  Some ideas scare us too much making us think they will never work in our classroom.

Yet, when did we take the time really clean up our ideas?  And not just the crazy ones, the old ones, the ones we never use, but even the ones we use the most.  The ones that define us as a teacher.  Even those should be evaluated now and then.  We should not hold anything sacred.  We should examine, unpack, and rethink what everything we do means.  Consider how what we teach and how we teach affects the students we work with now.  We should say goodbye to things that may have worked but whose time has come.  We should rediscover ideas we never thought we would try.  We should let the decision weigh heavy on our shoulders and still find the courage to let go and change.  Now is the perfect time to start.

I am a passionate (female) 5th grade teacher in Wisconsin, USA, proud techy geek, and mass consumer of incredible books. Creator of the Global Read Aloud Project, Co-founder of EdCamp MadWI, and believer in all children. I have no awards or accolades except for the lightbulbs that go off in my students’ heads every day.  First book “Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classrooms Back to Our Students” can be purchased now from Powerful Learning Press.   Follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.


2 thoughts on “Please Find the Courage to Let Go”

  1. I think administrators can learn from this as well — that it’s healthy and necessary to let go of some things in order to make room for others to flourish. I had a principal once who had heard a backpack metaphor — that if you’re going to ask your staff to carry new things in their backpacks, you have to be willing to take some things out first. He wasn’t spectacular about following it, but the fact that he was aware of it was a good start.

    Thanks for a thought-provoking post.

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