We had students respond to a video about how sometimes they need to "disconnect", and we asked them why that was important.
They were brilliant.
My classroom windows face south and west, and there is farmland expanse between my windows and the mountains. It is the perfect spot, over the shoulder of my computer, for me to stop and look out, and for me to focus, really focus, on the absurd beauty that is before me.
I am too connected. I'm almost addicted to the following: information, research, social media that teaches me about foreign policy, stupid jokes, cute kittens, programs and apps that make teaching more streamlined, give students immediate feedback, crazy wind and weather maps that tickle my weather-geeky mentality.
And, not to mention, connects me with my family. I'm there in their lives through photos, posts, and through what they share, giving me insight into who they are by what they value. Like that. Like that fast.
And I can write. And research what I write. And Improve what I write. And read what writer's write about what they write.
It's so much.
Today, we had students share their presentations on active listening. The purpose was to educate a class who didn't get to have the unit on active listening. Their audience was that class. Their modality? Their choice.
Students presented their iMovies, Keynote...you name it. Their choice.
I stood in the back of three of our classes, walls opened, as students opened up their iPads and presented their work on three big screens, in front of 90 12-13 year olds. The students watched each presentation with avid interest. It was their peers' work, and they were engaged.
I got choked up. I got teary. For 21+ years I have wanted, envisioned, believed in an authentic learning environment that enabled students to soar.
It's here. It's now.
I'm so lucky to be teaching still, to be teaching now.
I stop throughout the day to gaze out my window at the mountains, the raptors that sit in the trees right outside my window, staring into the neighboring farmer's field. My husband and I hike up our property many evenings to watch the sunset.
Our students spoke about how disconnecting was about connecting, really connecting, with friends, family, and real life. I'm thinking we all just need to keep learning from each other, and most especially, learning from our students. I think they get it, much more than we do.
Up next: How disconnecting will help your eyesight, and how I'm listening to my students with a different ear.