I was born in the 1960s, schooled in the 1970s, higher education in the 1980s, art/media, 1990s, education, TESOL, Masters … 2000s, PhD … skip to 2016 – and I am packing up my past (yet again) to get away. Boxes and boxes of my study, my resources, my ideas, my research, those articles that really meant something to me, all of that work I put in, notes, ideas, revelations! My 20 year old son – get rid of it mum, you don’t need it, when are you ever going to look at it again? The simple revelation, that the internet came along somewhere during that time, that obsolete storage devices that held such significant material can’t even be accessed anymore (remember, VHS, floppy disks – even CDs are considered obsolete), that there is no need to keep ‘hard’ copies of anything anymore, and yet I can’t bring myself to let them go. Not without a fight anyway!
So sorting through these boxes – crammed in every space – and each item bringing back a memory of what it meant at the time. Teaching ideas – both theory and practical, so important to me, and the product of so much work. The dilemma of a newly minted teacher – ideas of what to teach, how to do it, how to engage my students – surely I could use that again, next time I’m stuck for ideas? Another word of wisdom from my son – these are what you did with what you know – you still know it, you know even more now, so what good are they? Let go!
How do you shift a mindset that has been subsumed by technological innovation? I still love my old photo albums, my record collection (I think I can manage to get rid of all the old cassettes now) and all those old memories, the journal I kept from the age of around 13, the letters my friends and I used to send each other – as often as emails/facebook messages – the newspaper clippings, the old magazines, posters, the memories! Are they, as my son says, still there, but built into something else with everything that has happened since? That these concrete memories are obsolete and just taking up unnecessary space?