Delaware Writing Project

Moving On: A Tale of a Hermit Crab

By Christine Labaze

My 4-year-old son loves books with CDs. I put on the CD in the car, give him the book and he is set! On our last venture to the library we picked up Eric Carle’s A House for Hermit Crab. We accidentally took it inside the house so we never got to listen to it in the car until today. We were on our way to the library and I suggested he listen to A House for Hermit Crab one time before we returned it. I quickly realized that it didn’t have page-turn signals, which he is accustomed to, so I asked if he wanted me to turn it off, he didn’t. Now, I have heard this story several times in my teaching career. I even recorded myself reading it for my listening center. But right there in the car as I was listening, I had my lightbulb moment: moving on is a part of life.

Just as the little hermit crab must find a new home, three years ago, I had to find a new job. I moved to Delaware from North Carolina because I had outgrown my previous school. I received National Board Certification, but I wasn’t being used to my potential. I wanted to be a leader within my building but I wasn’t getting the recognition I felt I deserved. Nevertheless, I was leaving everything I had known, to embrace the unknown of Delaware. Just like the little hermit crab, my life was quite plain in a new state. I didn’t have friends or family nearby, but soon found comfort in the people around me. The other first grade teachers embraced me immediately. One in particular, Tracy, helped me with everything from school procedures to curriculum help. Amy, the dean of instruction, made me feel like my opinion and expertise were valued at the school. These people came to make my life better, just like the sea anemone, sea star, and snail did for the hermit crab. He came to love them just like family, as did I.  These new people in my life had made the transition from NC to DE comfortable and because of them helping to make my life safe and snug, I was able to grow professionally. I realized if I hadn’t moved on, I would have never had access to all opportunities I have been privileged to receive at my new school .In the story, as hermit crabs do, he became too large for this home and once again has to move on. I too have found myself once again too large for my current position and ready to move on.

As a lifelong learner, I am always researching, reading, and questioning. My mind and passion and curiosity continued to grow. I felt stifled in the classroom. I felt like I wanted to do more, like I had a calling to do something better. The feeling of not being used to my potential was making me feel incomplete as a teacher and professional. When a new opportunity arose, I was sad to leave my friends and colleagues that had become family, but I knew I could not grow to my potential if I did not take the leap. I cannot stay where I once felt safe and snug because it is no longer safe and snug. And although the future looks differently than I had imagined, I am not scared. I know I will find new people to fill my life and they will help me to grow as well. Thanks to A House for Hermit Crab, I now realize that moving on is a necessary part of growing as a professional.

And although I feel like this is where I want to be, I know there will come a time where I have to move on again. I have a passion to learn more, to help more children. I want to know the latest research, I want to know more so I do better for the students at my school. I want to be able to bring the information back to other teachers at my school so they can do better. I volunteer myself for committees, I sign up for trainings and leadership positions. I assert myself as an expert in my field and provide assistance to teachers whenever possible. I dream big and communicate my dreams to the administration in my building, and I am lucky enough to have administration that is sensitive to my desires and willing to assist me in reaching my goals. If that was not the case, I would need to move elsewhere. I can’t be afraid of moving on, only afraid of not being used to my potential.

About the Author

Christine Labaze is a reading enrichment teacher at Family Foundations Academy in New Castle, DE. She has a passion for teaching reading and writing which stems from her work with kindergarten and first grade students for the past 9 years. As a reading enrichment teacher, she helps support teachers from kindergarten to 4th grade teach reading and writing and works with students in whole group and small group settings with a focus on reading and writing. Christine has a deep interest in guided reading and writing workshop.

Read full author bio

Leave a Reply