This is my third school year out of the classroom and although I feel as though I am always busy, I’ve noticed something that has never come to my attention before; teachers move at breakneck speeds. It seems that when I try to talk with teachers whether in their classrooms or in corridors, they are always moving, shifty eyes and fidgeting with materials are the norm. I find myself trying to following their thought process but they appear to be inundated with tasks, paperwork, deadlines and fragmented thoughts.
What is happening? This feels very foreign to me, it’s almost as though I’m moving in slow motion with people swishing by me. Is this something new or has it always been this way? As I ponder this question I immediately attempt to place myself in a classroom teacher’s shoes. I wonder if I too would be gliding around from task to task? I always thought of myself as a reflective educator, however this new insight has made me question my teaching.
- Was this also me as a classroom teacher?
- Was I racing to beat the clock or be on pace with my colleagues?
- Was I aware enough of students needs?
- Did I truly listen to my students to uncover their thinking?
- Was I sacrificing learning for efficiency?
The last question really made me examine my own pervious performance. I wonder how often I valued efficiency in a task or a lesson at the expense of the learning of my students? I feel some guilt over the examples that started coming to mind. I know that I can’t go back and change my actions. I’m frustrated that I didn’t take every opportunity to be present with my students and that I allowed the responsibilities of my work take away from the purpose of my work. I realize that maybe it’s the nature of the beast, maybe this is what education has become. I truly hope that this is not the case.
I challenge you to take a few minutes each day and to ask yourselves if what you are doing is mindful and present.