Throughout the school year, charts are made, papers filed, folders maintained and records kept with the utmost skill and care of Ebenezer Scrooge's clerks. Yet in one or two afternoons, all of that makes its way into two large clear trash bags that are tossed curbside at a school, waiting to be hauled off to points we don't talk about much.
All that time. All that work. All that evidence of an academic year well or misspent, a student's growth chronicled for posterity - or until June, anyway. Some kids take it all home. Others toss it out right in class, so as to say,"...why lug it home, I can't keep it - there's no space, I'm done with it, already." Yes, this from eight and nine year old kids.
They argue a good point; why keep things we don't need, and don't WANT ? What is it in our minds that says, "...yes, save it, you may need it..." Is it some kind of 1930's frugal depression era, two generations removed genetic reprogramming that has made it's way into our molecular structure ? Are teachers more prone to this hoarding behavior because of the constant threat of cutbacks, not having enough, transient children that come in after all has been given out, and are still expected to come up with what is needed ?
This past week I was conscience of my behavior on this issue on two fronts.
First, at school, I was careful to save as many pocket folders as possible for kids who never have any, or not enough, or need them replaced mid year and claim their parents have no money; despite the new PSP game they just got. I pulled as many paper clips as I could find out of stacks of papers that were discarded, but made sure as many stacks as possible were given to my students. When I had saturated my kids, the overflow went to a neighboring class. Usable crayons were saved, stubs were not; no work books were thrown out, they were given to children, half used, half NOT used.
Second, apart from school, I eliminated something off my new business cards; my singer web site address. I was half aware of the decision as the design emerged for the new look and more focused on what to show as my purpose in having a card !
Educator. Writer. Cancer Care Advisor.
Included was my name, email, phone and this blog spot. (Shameless plug, but, did you subscribe yet ?)
Then I typed my singer site, and just looked at it. Then took it off. Then I took off the three descriptors.
Ten minutes were spent putting these four items on and off in different combos.
Then in one moment, I got zen and let it go. With only my name, phone, email and blog site on the face of the card, it is multipurpose, uncommitted, reflects the green/simple design of the template and shows a spot where if one wishes to know more, they can go. Basta.
Like the students, I made that choice to get rid of what isn't needed anymore. At least right now, as in 250 cards worth. Like handouts and student magazines, there will always be more. I look forward to seeing the new cards with the anticipation of a new school year's clean desk, shiny floors and sharpened pencils.
But there is plenty of time for that. For now students and teachers alike take a much earned riposa, to reflect and regenerate for the paper collection to begin again.
Summer - Welcome.