Lockdown life sees us all very familiar with the notion of closed. Everything, apart from supermarkets and chemists, is closed in the UK for the 3rd lockdown since this time last year. Since I retired I have been trying to understand which of my areas of activity will close. The first step was straightforward, I have retired so I am no longer working for the University of Warwick. Inevitably that has required some untangling, you can’t work somewhere for 20 years and not have made connections which will need to be sorted out and reconfigured – email addresses and profiles on accounts to update. Thankfully much of this is now done.
The more complex part of preparing for the future both short term and longer term is what will continue and what will stop completely. The physical manifestation of this has been sorting through my hard copy teaching resources. That has been a journey. 20 years of resources to clear from my office on campus. 35 years of teaching resources to clear out of the attic. Each with a story, each is part of my career history. I have been ruthless this time round. Recycling paper and cardboard for weeks, destroying anything with student names or data of course. Digital copies kept where there are emotional reasons or where the media can still be accessed on an old device.
This physical process has helped me make sense of the more complex untangling of my professional life. Gradually I have been able to decide what I will continue in the short term, medium term and longer term. This is not without pain as it means saying no to people who have relied on me to support their activities. I have classified activities in phases and the decisions are based on many factors including how sustainable they are in the longer term with a reducing income, a need to prioritise my health and a commitment to increasing family time.
Next I have to communicate these decisions to the many friends I have been privileged to work alongside over the years. I am fully committed to working with them on succession planning to facilitate any transfers needed so that this can be as painless as possible for them. I’m not going to share these decisions here apart from the one long term decision I have made.
I will continue to work in the open to support the following:
- open professional practice in support of teachers and learners everywhere.
- an ethical approach to the use of learning technologies
- a safe and fair internet for all
- the campaign for a more equitable world built on truth, transparency and social justice.
This is unpaid work of course and I do it because I care. We all know that care is poorly recognised under the current extreme capitalist regime which is running rampant at the moment. Confirmed again when #notmygovt announced a 1% pay rise for nurses So this is maybe the most urgent work I can do.
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