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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

old job old news

so about that gal from the picnic. she used to be a teacher. she isn't one now. she may or may not be one again. a big source of her paper clutter is her old teaching stuff - lesson plans, quizzes, tests, good ideas, etc.

as a former teacher myself, i know how hard it is to toss this stuff. you spent hours and hours creating it. the same is true for most anything you've created. it's hard to separate all the time and energy you put into it from the actual product. forget about the usefulness of that product to you now or how much space it takes up in your current life. it was hard, hard work to create it and if you toss it you feel like you're devaluing all that effort.

what to do? well, i recommend taking a trip through it all. the picnic gal knew she had everything in there from an entire unit on to kill a mockingbird to grammar lessons for different grade levels. my guess was that she also had random copies of handouts, some student work and some not-so-great lessons that she used on those incredibly tired days after parent conferences the night before. purging all this excess would certainly give her (and her husband, don't forget about that guy) more space.

having been away from it for a while she would now have a more objective eye to consider her work. she should ask herself with each piece of paper, "how would i grade this"? no reason to keep work that has a bad grade. even if she went back to teaching, she'd be unhappy using it. as an added bonus, if she actually did go back to teaching and taught the same books again she could pull an organized file on each novel she'd taught before. that file would only contain the creme de la creme - her best work - which she could use as building blocks for future.

when i stopped teaching, i must admit i did this and hung on to my creme de la creme for a while. eventually i wanted to use the space for my current life more than i wanted to keep old lesson plans that reminded me of a past life.

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