Two weekends ago we had two extra people staying in our house, which involved (finally) clearing up a room which we had aptly renamed the dumping ground and making it not only livable but also inviting. The room, which had experienced a lengthy hiatus in receiving any attention, other than to hurriedly place something in there which had no other allotted space, before equally hastily closing the door (lest we should be reminded that this is, in fact a usable room) housed boxes, papers, winter shoes, summer caps, bedding of various sizes and schoolwork from years gone by.
After the first trawl garbage and recycling day beckoned and many an extra box and bag were dragged curbside. The neighbours looked and imagined. I sighed with relief when the refuse trucks actually picked up.
Returning to the room, and the approaching weekend guests, I opened the box which I had previously moved from one corner of the room to another, to the middle, by the door and back to the middle. It had come originally from the basement, which previously was my work area. I had believed that nonintervention for full boxes might be my best cause but having jettisoned all but the best schoolwork from my kids I knew this could not be the case. The room would look part welcoming and part junk if the boxes weren’t emptied.
I ooh-ed and aaah-ed over pictures of my kids when they were younger, felt embarrassment at photos of me when I was younger and finally opened the box. A myriad of colour files. Must be trite notes from a million years ago I thought, or jottings from research before one of our overseas moves. No, no, no, it was my notes from preparation for lessons and workshops, presentations and classes. All that energy and creativity, processing, enjoyment, rhythm, movement, discovery and fun. In a pile of paper. I found lesson plans, comments on how those lessons went, discarded ideas, initial ideas for how to present a song in class and the continuation of those ideas through the session and beyond.
What struck me most was how many of those ideas I had built on when teaching but also my journey as a teacher. Part of the joy of teaching for me is the creativity, the crafting of the idea, rejecting ideas and trying out ideas before presenting the idea. It is in essence the conveying of the idea. Explaining it and allowing others to find their own delight and enchantment in it. Sharing both the idea and that nugget of insight into music, music-making and musical development.
Finding all that instinct and experimentation was improbable when the “great clear out began” but it represents for me the initial dissemination of thoughts, the innovation which brings such joy in the classes.