Sunday, April 29, 2012

Why can't I let go?

Decluttering success today... and a roadblock.  Blogging to the rescue?  I am hoping that writing about my struggles will help clear my own blocks--but may be helpful to someone else as well.

I emptied a milk crate from the garage today.  Big piles of paper cascaded straight into the recycle bin.  Yay!  This crate had been waiting for my attention since last summer's declutter efforts, but I knew there weren't garage-sale-items inside, so I put it off.  But I saw it every time I was in the garage.

Sunny day in April.  If not now, then when?  I sorted papers in the sunshine.
An empty bin is a happy bin!
Now for the tough part:  Not every paper in that crate made it into the recycle bin.  I saved a chunk...
Leftovers: 3 notebooks and 3 folders of school papers
The papers in the crate were schoolwork from my first master's program: 1999 thru 2002.  It was easy to part with notes from every math class--what would I do with those?  But I saved all the course info--handouts, my notes, homework/papers, readings--from 2 particular educational classes: media literacy and children, and foundations of education.  I had reasons for saving these papers.  When I said the reasons out loud, however, it sounded like the sentimental reasons people give for hanging on to useless stuff. 

It's true: I was sentimental about these classes.  The Media Literacy class lit a fire under me; I did so much out-of-class reading, extra not-assigned work.  I was entranced by the topic.  I wanted to study everything I could about it.  I wanted to *teach* media literacy.  I wanted to write a curriculum that would mesh mathematics and the media.  I still have a desire to write curriculum one day--maybe I should hold onto these materials, right?  There must be something valuable in there.

I gotta show some love to the Foundations of Ed class also.  This is a required undergrad class in the college of ed; I was a TA (teaching assistant) for that class, mentoring a small group through the material, which was new to me also.  I kept about half a step ahead of the students, attending lectures and doing the required readings right along with them.  I'm not sure I was the best TA for that class.  But I kept all the materials for one simple reason: the professor, Dr. Mark Shinn, did such a fantastic job of organizing the course around major themes and connecting every piece of information, every discussion, every little thing, back to those themes.  I want to be a teacher like that.  [Will I be that kind of teacher by saving all those papers?]

Sweetie put some pressure on me to just chuck it all.  I pushed back: I just wasn't ready to say farewell to the papers.  Even when reminded that the few kernels of wisdom I wanted to hold onto were buried within hundreds of sheets of paper.  Not ready to give up on the promise of those papers.

So I stashed them in the back bedroom.  I will visit them next when I finish my master's thesis presentation (and purge all the research papers associated with that project).  And I'm pretty sure, after some time has passed, I'll be ready to toss it all.  Why couldn't I let go today?

Thanks for reading.  I needed to clear my head a little.

1 comment:

  1. Good for you! It is so hard to part with school stuff. I am the same way.