Thinning out, tidying up. Books to Oxfam, books to booksellers. Analogue to digital.
Here’s something I’ve long wanted to consign to my outboard brain. In a book bought eight years ago and now on its way out, these words, attributed to an unnamed headmaster (but I think I know who it is — they’d be utterly characteristic of him):
… four questions to ask myself in any situation:
What are the facts?
What are the issues?
What am I going to do?
Who do I have to tell?
Teaching’s changed over the course of my life, becoming suppler and subtler, gentler and wiser. Kinder. Looking back, there was a lot of focus on “facts” and not always much sensitivity to issues. Facts often seemed to be the issues.
Schools, like families, are crucibles of intense engagement. Those four questions are a great way of collecting yourself in the rush of a crisis. They’ve been of help and they can live here now. The book can go.
This archiving business, though … Opening up the book to get that bit and put it down here, I found forgotten notes on index cards — one about the book, but others to do with a job interview I had nearly 10 years ago — and a post-it with a rather good quotation on it from … ? And now that it’s so easy to digitalise and store, what do I keep? When should you forget? What should be put clean away?