But I digress.
Then I got after Mr. D to clean out HIS closet--which resulted in TWO GIANT GARBAGE BAGS full of clothes he never wears. I already had five boxes of outgrown toys, books and videos slated for the thrift shop--in addition to some household goods and my brown J. Jill turtleneck sweater that makes me look stumpy so I never wear it. And a sewing machine that I bought thinking I'd morph into a craftacular human being. And place mats I never use, candles I'll never burn and purses I never carry.
Which led to opening up a couple boxes in the basement while I was carrying up the loot for the thrift shop. I unearthed all of the paperwork from my Master's program back in the 90's...I went to UW-Madison and graduated with a MS in Curriculum & Instruction. Fear me, people, I can totally diagnose the fundamental racist underpinings of an ethnocentric text. I waded through a mountain of notes and articles wondering at my self-righteous intellectual piety back then. I'm so glad I quit academia--I would have evolved into a total ass. But I was really good at it--I played the game well, spitting out in class discussions everything my professors wanted to hear, challenging my fellow students on their pedagogy, research methods and their inferior preconceived ideals. (Yes, academia is really just a giant debate where everyone tries to come out superior in an argument--I still do this, but I'd be even worse if I'd stayed there.)
I am getting rid of almost all of it because I realize that over a decade later I really don't need articles explaining the different schools of feminist theory (Marxist, Radical and some other one I forgot--maybe I should dig that batch of articles out again). I know the difference between quantitative and qualitative research and remember how much I detested Ruth Behar's navel-gazing ethnographic research on herself. Quiz me on gender identity, the dynamics of being a teacher-nurturer, the politics of literacy, "Warranting Voice and the Elaboration of the Self (Gergen) or "Personhood, Literacy Practices and the Social Construction of Intertextuality (Egan-Robertson).
It scared me a little, going through this box. I was so sucked in to a world where nothing mattered but ideas and theories and research. Not that these things don't matter, they do! But it's easy to turn into a judgmental talking head when all you do is sit around libraries and classrooms pontificating on what a crummy job schools and policy makers and teachers are doing. For all my knowledge (and I am surprised at my retention--I haven't cracked this box open in over a decade!), I think I do more to help schools as a SAHM who leads the local PTA than I would have done as an Education Professor. Because once those young teachers hit the trenches, all theory--Friere, hooks, Heath and Foucault--they don't matter that much.
Which is not to say I'm throwing it all away. I'm keeping a small pile of papers. My thesis is in there, as are a few articles I have special fondness for, like Carl A. Grant's Culture and Teaching: What do Teachers Need to Know?
I'll keep this--for posterity.
I feel lighter now. I'm happy knowing who I was, where I might have gone and how I've ended up (at this point in time anyway). I earned my graduate degree with my own money, time and sacrifices and I'm glad I did. But that chapter? It's officially closed for now. I guess I never realized it until this morning.