After the Flood

I’ve looked EVERYWHERE, and I just can’t find it.

That file—the one marked UbD—must be in here somewhere.

I started searching last night, after receiving handouts in a professional development workshop that reminded me of that file. I remember stuffing it with templates from another workshop.

For five glorious days in 2001, I attended the Understanding by Design workshop with Harriet, my partner in curriculum design. We worked 6-8 hours each day, drafting a K-5 holidays curriculum. In the evenings, we explored Seattle on foot.

I remember returning home, my heavy suitcase loaded with workbooks and nearly a ream of paper.  I remember taking the folder from my file cabinet, packing it in a cardboard box.

Suddenly, I remember the flood. The memory lands like a sucker punch.

Less than an inch of water covered the basement floor, but we didn’t discover the problem until the damage was done. This happened many years later. In the time between the cloud, heavy with rain, and the cloud in which I learned to store all my data.

My determination to find the UbD file quickly turned to despair. I realize it was lost in the flood. Before the flood, I was the kind of teacher who saved every scrap of paper. After the flood, after lugging waterlogged boxes to the dumpster, I learned to cultivate an appreciation of the process while letting go of the product.

The words of Kohelet comfort me; I repeat them aloud. Everything has its season: “A time to seek and a time to lose, a time to keep and a time to cast away.” (Ecclesiastes 3:6)


ubd redux image

While I couldn’t remember the loss of the file until the search for it failed, I can remember its contents. This file held an accumulated understanding of the process of curriculum design.

That wisdom, once acquired, is never lost. Each time I begin to recreate the curriculum design process, my mind opens anew, seeking the knowledge safely stored there and casting away doubts that prevent me from finding my potential.


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