I managed to grab half an hour today to purge my teaching folders. Who knew teachers can accumulate paper copies of activity sheets faster than teenagers empty a fridge at 3 pm. You might think we are single-handedly responsible for the destruction of Earth's forests but actually most information is now stored on an equally rabbit warren-like array of electronic folders on our laptops. Yet fear keeps telling us not to waste our carefully curated hard copy resources and keeps us clipped to our rows and rows of oversized lever arch ring binders.
The decluttering, now begun, feels glorious. I feel like I've reinvented the wheel. Probably veteran teachers everywhere are laughing at me for taking so long to click on to this genius trick. You see, I have been storing everything according to all the Year levels I have ever taught and buying more folders every year. But from today I am deciding to store my information according to category. Now I have folders labelled Poetry, Persuasive, Analytical, Film, Narrative and Grammar to adapt to each Year level instead titles such as Year-8-random-shit-I-will-never-use-again-because-its-all-rammed-in-there-in-no-particular-order. Have I bored you to tears yet?
Actually, what I really want to tell you about is an article out of a precious little magazine I recently tore my home cupboards apart to find. I'd given up in defeat and sadly categorised it as lost. Well, well, well. Turns out it has been stuck at school between the folders Year-11-English-Communications-a-subject-that-no-longer-exists and Year-9-Novel-Outfall-that-was-culled-from-the-school-library-back-in -2017.
To commemorate Remembrance Day coming up next month I'd like to now share an article inside the magazine. It is one of my first published pieces, written way back in 2004 for New Zealand Memories Issue 50, about an amazing fighter pilot who survived two and a half years in a German P.O.W camp before plotting a daring escape. He just so happens to have been one of my gorgeous grandads. (And yes I know the title says soldier, which is incorrect. That one is all my fault.)
Perhaps you have a hero hidden in your family too?