Let me tell you about The Year I Gave Up My Passion. Last year was an interesting year for my family. I had do something I never thought I could or would have to do. See, I had to make a mommy decision.
I had to do exactly what many parents have to do for their kids. This meant I had to give up part of my heart for my kids. Last year I walked away from my kindergarten classroom and onto a new unfamiliar plan.
Let Me Explain Why I Gave Up My Passion
I love my job. And when I use the term love, I use that word because it is the only known word to describe the complete joy and absolute passion I have for the job. The word love just doesn’t even feel strong enough. First, I enjoyed teaching more than any person I have ever met. Next, I believe without a doubt that God put me on this Earth to be an educator. Now, I specifically love Kindergarten. I enjoy the open ended and student centered curriculum. In 10 years in education, I have never gotten tired of the activities we cover. In fact, I work tirelessly on improving my units and mastering my craft.
What I Love the Most
Notice I did not say that I love teaching more than anything in this whole world. Teaching comes in third. First comes my God. Second comes my family. Third comes teaching. I choose to be a working mom and that is hard! Really, really hard. Some days the tasks at hand seem impossible. Yet the to do list always gets done. I may not get much sleep and some nights I don’t get any sleep. But I make that choice because I strongly feel that fulfilling God’s role in my life as well as filling my heart at school makes me a better mom. My sweet husband is very supportive.
When All Else Fails
When we knew my current teaching situation wasn’t ideal for my family, I tried to transfer to one of the many schools closer to my house for YEARS. To say that transferring is hard was an understatement. I tried everything. Kindergarten jobs were impossible to get. My family prayed for guidance.
What I Tried
I did the work. First, I worked on my resume and I prepared the portfolio. Secondly, I applied for the jobs. Then, I worked my contacts. I asked for advice from those who I thought might now better than me. Still, I was told to keep trying, keep plugging away. I was also told to broaden my interest in grade levels. And finally, after 5 years of job searching to better my family, I was offered a job! It wasn’t perfect, but it was a step in the right direction for my family. I felt like it was an answered prayer. I called my spouse. We talked about our options. And I took it.
I had to Say Goodbye to my Heart
In a single instance, I said goodbye to a piece of my heart, I said goodbye to Kindergarten. I said yes to another grade level. You read that correctly. I packed up my heart and soul for 10 years. I put in boxes every Christmas gift and birthday present that was really for my classroom. I packed up my second home for 10 years. I walked away from friends and a school I liked. And I did it for my family.
How it Felt
This was the year I gave up my passion and the feelings were real. I was scared. I was excited. I was sad, so very very very sad. I was relying on God and his hand to help me through. I knew I made the right choice, even though I was sad. But I cried the big ugly cries in private. The only emotion I can compare my decision to leave Kindergarten was brokenhearted.
Along the Way
There were so many blessings along the way. God gave my oldest daughter an AMAZING teacher this year who not just adored her, but taught her above my (very particular teacher-parent) expectations. I had more than an hour with BOTH my kids everyday. And I was at a school where I felt extremely supported. In fact, in my first week at this school, I received more compliments and support than I had in 10 years of teaching. I seriously had no clue what to do with the regular affirmations that occurred often. My new team of teachers was unbelievable. So sweet, so kind, so understanding, so nonjudgmental, so embracing.
What I had to Learn
I didn’t teach half way. I did the work. I didn’t always know what I was doing. I made mistakes. I admitted my mistakes. I had to study up on my topics each night. I had to learn how to become a different teacher without losing myself. Different can be a good thing. My heart wasn’t empty but the hole was still there. But what I enjoyed about teaching was growing and evolving. I smiled every day. I laughed a lot. I was never miserable or unhappy. I was simply not whole.
To Soothe My Soul
To soothe my soul, I even tutored students who needed skill remediation from K to help them. First, I worked with students on K skills three times a week. Honestly, tutoring and sharing my ideas with others helped my soul more than anything else. Secondly, I also integrated the fun into my new classroom. I made sure we did hands on activities and assignments. We explored, created, asked questions. And we learned.
I Missed Kindergarten
But I would still cry. Sometimes I would just miss my Kindergarten room so much, I would go into the room it was stored in and just sit. It sounds stupid; it was stupid. But it helped. I wouldn’t let others see my pain. Mainly because I didn’t want anyone to know my hurt. Especially not my own children who deserved a mom who could work and put them first.
When the Door Closes
So what happens to this teacher now? What happens to this teacher who gave up her passion for her family? Well, God never, ever EVER closes a door forever. I am so happy to let you know that I am officially heading BACK to Kindergarten next year. In the end, I am getting exactly what I asked God to give me for all those years. I will be teaching Kindergarten at a school MUCH closer to my house.
Why am I Telling You About the Year I Gave Up My Passion?
Why I am telling you about the year I gave up my passion? Each one of us have a grade level or a job we are passionate about.
Some of us are blessed to be able to do the job we are the most passionate about. But some of us have to give up what we love for important reasons we can’t control. Finally, if you are the person who isn’t able to do the one thing you know God put you on this Earth to do:
Have faith. Try to see the big picture. Stay the course. If you are working with someone who isn’t able to do the one thing they love:
Encourage them. Give them affirmations. Be sweet, be kind, be understanding, and be embracing.
But… wait… what happened to me next?
Read here to see the update on the year AFTER I gave up my passion.
Congratulations, Mary! I’m so happy for you that your dreams are coming true. The kindergartners will be lucky to have you as their teacher!
Grace Toler says
Congrats to you!! I can sooooo identify with you! I too ?LOVE? Kindergarten. I have been blessed to be a K teacher 24 of the 37 yrs. I have been in the classroom. I am out for the summer but go over to “work in my room” about once or twice a week. I too am married and have two grown children and our first grandchild- what a gift and a whole nother meaning for the word “love!” I love my school, colleagues and school community. We are blessed indeed! Have a wonderful summer planning and dreaming away! Would love to connect sometime!
Jayne Gammons says
Beautiffuly written, Mary. YOU know how hard it was for me to pack up my classroom this year. I already sat in the room where some of it is stored. (It took 3 rooms.) Let’s see what’s next for us! I’ll be watching as you return to K. JG
Heather K says
You’re absolutely inspiring! I wish we had more educators that felt so passionately about their role in the classroom.
When I read your post I couldn’t keep the tears back. I am currently going through this same situation. I have taught first grade for 10 years and earlier this year my daughter accepted a position in the Bay Area. I kept my granddaughter with me, so she could finish pre-k at her current school. This has been a rough six months, but I believe this was God’s plan. I knew I would have to move to the Bay area to help my daughter, so I began the process of getting another credential and looking for jobs. For weeks I submitted literally 20 applications. Nothing. I redid my resume and introduction letter. Still nothing. I continued to submit at least 5 applications a day and even broadened my boundaries of where I was willing to teach just to be near my granddaughter. It’s been a month and I’ve had two call backs for schools that I didn’t feel were a good fit for me. I decided to accept other grades, but knew that my heart was in first. There are 3 weeks left before I have to make the move and I will keep your words of encouragement that God has a bigger plan for me and that he will open the door when the time is right. I needed your words of encouragement.
GOD is amazing! GOD sends messages through the least expected places! I am not sure what encouraged you to write this but I thank you! As I am sitting here looking at my 12 years of teaching first “things” I am feeling sad. I to had to give up my passion for my family and my health but as I am reading your story I know GOD has something bigger and better in store! I will have time to get my masters and better myself. Thank you for sharing your story!
I am in the same place that you are knowing that GOD is amazing and that he has something bigger and better in store for us. I have taught first for 10 years and now moving and not having any luck. I hope you find something that excites you and gets you back into teaching.
Congratulations on going back to Kinder!!! This is exactly what I needed to read. I am moving away from kinder as well and feel like I am leaving a piece of my heart there. Thank you for being honest and showing your heart in this blog. This is so well written and a perfect example of how it takes a special heart to teach Kinder.
Thank you writing this! I needed to know that I was not crazy for feeling the way I am feeling. I have just finished my 20 th year. I have always been in First or Second. I have never had the desire to teach Kindergarten. Like you said my PASSION is in First grade. This year beyond my control, and I did try to control it, my principal has decided he knows what is best for me, after only 3 years, and I am now a Kindergarten teacher. I was prepared to transfer but my daughter is a senior and is in the school next door. I just couldn’t leave because she will be leaving very soon to go off to college. I still cry when I am by myself but I have put on a brave face and will begin my new adventure in the fall. Again Thank You for sharing
I am so proud of this post! What a great testimony of how faithful our God is to give us the desires of our hearts! I am so very passionate about kinder as well so I truly understand the depth of that desicion you made, but how awesome that you followed Gods direction! Kindergarten has a special place in my heart too, I hope I have many more years with this grade level. Best wishes with your new Kinder classroom!
So happy for you Mary that you will be going back to Kindergarten!!! Having said that I am leaving 11 years of 1st grade and heading to Kindergarten and I have a freebie you gave long, long ago. I was wondering if you had it in a Kindergarten format? Every year I buy The Night Before First Grade from Natasha Wing and I use the homework paper you created, but now I’m going to K and I’ve ordered the books, but was wondering if you still have the homework and if it could be adjusted for K?
Thanks for looking and again I am so happy for your family and for you!
Mary Amoson says
Jeanette K says
Thank you for sharing such a personal story. So encouraging for others. Yes, God has to come first. Only then can we see the big picture. So happy you are returning to K! Have a super year!
<3 So happy for you!!
Thank you for this. I’m an Early Childhood/Childhood graduate student. My heart is truly geared towards early childhood as I have been a Pre-K teacher for the last two years while working towards my degree. I made the choice to broaden my certification to make my myself more marketable to schools once I begin to apply. It makes me nervous that I may have to accept a position in a grade where I may not be as comfortable teaching. Being the type of teacher I am, I know I will always work towards my students’ success in any grade I may potentially teach. This also gives me hope to possibly end up in my dream classroom teaching kindergarteners one day 🙂
Doris Chovan says
Greatly enjoyed what you shared about kindergarten. So happy for you to be returning to your favorite grade level.. God bless you as you work with this unbelievably wonderful group of young children, starting them off with a fun and positive educational experience. After 30 years of teaching kindergarten it was time for me to give up this wonderful part of my life…it was time to retire! I miss the kids, the music, the noise, the excitement and the look of wonderment on their faces. My last kindergarten class just graduated from high school and one student invited me to graduation for being her “favorite teacher!” A great way to end a much loved kindergarten career.