The Most Impactful Thing Anyone Has Ever Said to Me

6:00 AM Sarah Koves 0 Comments

When I first started working at Carson City-Crystal High School in the fall of 2009, a wonderful social studies teacher that worked there, Mr. Tim Hullinger.  He and I are close in age, had classrooms on the third floor (far away from the office- I called it the tower), and are both seriously intelligent people.  The pair of us had differing opinions on many topics including politics (Did I mention we both taught social studies?) and religion.  Yet, we spent a lot of the school year working together and hanging out talking at lunch sans students.  We would meander down roads of conversation about all sorts of things.  

One of the topics we frequently venture to were our goals for the future. A need in both of us existed to figure out what we were meant to do with our lives.  Our jobs were enjoyable, but we both realized we had bigger goals for ourselves and broader aspirations than what we were doing at that time.  He would talk about leaving education and running his own business.  I knew my future lay in education, but I had a pull for helping young mothers at the time.  With young families, neither of us knew when or where these aspirations would lead.  I often struggled with the idea that I was not qualified for much other than teaching.

At one point he said to me, “You are too smart to be doing this the rest of your life.” 

His words stuck with me over these last ten years not because I do no love my job, but because I know there is so much more out there. I firmly believe we need intelligent people working with our children on a regular basis so that part is not where I lost faith.  I just always want to be sure I don’t get stuck in a rut where I continue to go through the motions until I run out of time and energy to look at the bigger picture.  I felt myself doing that over the last two years at my last job.  I was always searching for something new and challenging for my skills and mind; I was getting bored.  However, with those new challenges came a lot of drama from coworkers, parents, and faculty, who did not always like I was using my skills and mind to change myself, my classroom, and my students.

It took me a long while and some personal reflection to realize two things: first, Tim was so very right that I was intelligent and second, that I should not stay at a place that does not appreciate someone who wants to grow and move forward.  It was after that realization that I began looking for other positions.  I interviewed for many, was offered two and accepted one.  My new job is allowing me to do what I know is good for students while trusting my judgment and allowing me to challenge the status quo.  The spark inside me is slowing returning to a flame. 

When Tim decided to leave, I got a phone call from him; I may have even known before our boss did.  He also left me both his coffee pot and his master key (all his keys, but I hung on to that Building Master Key for another seven years).  I remember how sad I was to be working without my friend (I would go on to make new ones) and how glad I was to have met him.  He has left a lasting impact on me as both an educator and a human being. 


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