October 25, 2011

Letting Go and Holding On

... an advanced teaching credential...National Board Certification is achieved upon successful completion of a voluntary assessment program designed to recognize effective and accomplished teachers who meet high standards based on what teachers should know and be able to do...As part of the certification process, candidates complete 10 assessments that are reviewed by trained teachers in their certificate areas. The assessments include four portfolio entries that feature teaching practice and six constructed response exercises that assess content knowledge.
Strengthens practice. Research shows candidates demonstrate significant improvement in their teaching practice. Teachers who achieve certification have been assessed against the nation’s highest advanced teaching standards.
Helps students succeed. Research, including the 2008 Congressionally-mandated National Research Council report, documents that students taught by NBCTs make higher gains on achievement tests than students taught by non-NBCTs.         
                                                                   from NBPTS.org

...and aside from Henry Jaden and William Leo, I have never wanted anything more.  Yet today I will gather my notes, my USB drive, my binders and let go of the dream.  Forever.  With a candidacy fee of several thousand dollars, I will not be able to return to this endeavor. 

In reality, as a single parent, I never really had a chance.  It was over before I downloaded the first set of portfolio instructions.  I was stubborn, dug in my heels and began planning and writing drafts.  With each discouraging word from supervisors and coworkers, I strengthened my commitment.  I believed in myself.  The portfolio process was invigorating.  My brain felt alive for the first time in years.  Sadly, the more involved my mind and hands became, the more my heart knew it wouldn't be possible to continue. 

I do not have the behind-the-scenes help that other parents have.  What I do have is two wonderful boys that must be picked up by 4:45 pm everyday.  Two boys that need to eat healthy meals, play board games, do puzzles and listen to Red Fish, Blue Fish every night.   They need clean dishes, clean clothes and and good clean fun.  Henry and Liam don't care if I'm certified or certifiable.  All they care about is whether I sit next to them on the sofa, hold their hands during a thunderstorm and bring them chocolate milk. 

It's time.  I have to let go of a dream so that my sons can hold on to their childhood. 


  1. I can feel the heartbreak in this post. It does sound like you're making a decision you're comfortable with and you love those boys and are focused on them right now. Is there no way you can put this off for a few years? I don't know anything about any of this process, but is it possible to delay this and then to also get someone to sponsor you when you're ready? Maybe not let go of a dream but just delay it? If this is all stuff you've thought about already and I'm just making noise here, I'm sorry. Just trying to be helpful since it does sound like your heart is breaking a little bit. So sorry.

  2. Barb has a good point. Maybe there is some sort of compromise? I gave up the corporate world to spend time with my kids...cut my salary by two thirds and gave up my dreams of being the big shot corporate executive. While I miss the money, I agree that it's all worth it when I see the smiles on my kids faces and am able to watch them turn grow. I still keep my fingers in the corporate pie, though, with occasional board work. While I don't find my regular job to be incredibly inspiring to me, I get a lot of satisfaction from the board work. Maybe you could find something to satisfy that part of you part time? It's hard to give up a dream. But, I know we all feel it's well worth it when we look in our kids' faces.

  3. As a teacher myself, I understand the striving for excellence all the time. But now we have this wonderful home life on top of our careers. We can be both working and moms...but at some point we have to make a decision about which gets more of our focus. Yes, we are superwomen, but even superwoman needs some balance :) I agree with the above posts, could you put this off for a few years when your boys are a little older and require a little less from you?

  4. I'm so sorry to hear the sadness in your words. No great answer here, but maybe you can delay the dream instead of letting it go completely? Maybe when the boys are older you can revisit it?

    Of late I have found myself measuring my parenting "success" against my friends who have the luxury of not working, cooking with the herbs they grew in the garden they had time to tend, making their children's Halloween costumes from organic cotton and hand dying the fabric (hell, one friend even decided to raise her own free range chickens so her kids had the "right" eggs). But then I look at my daughter, in her store bought costume who thinks Central Park is our garden and it makes my heart feel full and grateful. You are a certified wonderful mom.

  5. At the end of your life your greatest accomplishments are your children. When others look back on your life I think most parents would much rather be remembered for being a loving, caring, attentive parent than a person that was a certified anything. Yes, you are closing the door on one dream but maybe this will lead to something even better for you in the long run. You know you are a darn great teacher..so don't beat yourself up over having to stop in getting certified. Continue loving and molding your boys into the men they will become. You are their only parent so its up to you to pave the way and show them how to someday be great parents themselves.

  6. Everyone else has already said everything I feel for you...

    As someone who chose to give up my dream (and you know what that was) I understand how hard this must be. Big hugs to you xo

  7. I'm sorry you've hgad to give up this dream. It's so hard when choices like this have to be made. Hopefully you find peace in your decision. {hugs}

  8. Oh, Lara, I wish there was some magic wand I could wave that would make this a reality for you. I can relate to how hard it is to sacrifice things in the non-mom life for the sake of the clan. I hope that you don't feel that you've given up on a dream, but rather that you're dedicating more time right now to your other dream, that of being Mom. I know words won't make it all feel better, but, I have those to offer. And wine, of course. And ears to listen when you need.

  9. Hugs. I've pretty much given up on promotions at work for the same reason. When I'm gone, L will care about what kind of mother I was, not how great I was at work. In the end I'm okay with that, but I still know how much it hurts.

  10. I'm sorry. I wonder if you can put it off for a while, and just put the dream to sleep and not let go of it? It is so hard to make the choice you have just made. But, you are so very right. Your kids don't care if you are certified or not they just love you! And of course your career will never love you back. So hard.

  11. Lara,

    I've been wanting to come write a note since I read your heartbreaking post, but wanted to do it when I wasn't rushed or pressed for time. I've come back several times to read it and it still makes me so sad.

    I hope you've given yourself some time to grieve this loss of your dream for right now. You never know how much your life can change in the blink of an eye. Who knows where you'll be in 1 year, 5 years or down the road. Maybe, just maybe you'll still be able to do this. I truly don't believe that we can be superwomen. Just like men are not supermen. You can have it all, just not all at the same time. If that were the case working men wouldn't feel like they were missing out of key elements of their kids' lives too (my male friends grouse about this all the time; in fact Tate's godfather was just complaining this afternoon about having to miss Halloween with his 2 because he has to go to India on Sunday, and he is NOT pleased.)

    And you're right Henry and Liam need you present in their lives. They may never know what you've sacrificed for them, but you will know in every smile, hug, look of triumph, every race you're able to go watch, every jump for joy, every skinned knee you are present with a band-aid for. All those small moments will add up to more than you feel you have given up. Your heart will be fuller and your life lighter.

    Time. Give yourself time my friend. You deserve it and you deserve this amazing life you're making for your beautiful family.

  12. Sorry for not seeing this earlier. Its been a month since this post, I am hope the sting of heartbreak isnt so painful now.
    I agree with some of the others...maybe later? When life isnt so demanding?
    Its SO hard to let go of a dream, one that will make you feel better, make you more successful. But you have the most adorable little boys that when they smile makes you forget about everything else.
    Here's a big hug to you.
    (sorry to open this again!)