Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Too Much Information

As an elementary school teacher, my days are hectic.  The 8:00 am bell that signals the arrival of my students is like the initial jolt of a rollercoaster preparing for a wild ride.  The adrenalin starts pumping and doesn’t stop until 3:15 when the last of my charges is loaded on the bus.  You might have had a more zen image of an elementary school teacher in your mind.  You might imagine a pastel dress, a sweet smile, and a classroom full of quiet and attentive kids.  It happens, but it is the exception rather than the rule. 
Consider, if you will, a typical morning:
8:00 am

Bell rings
8:05   

Student 1 has a explanation for why he didn’t do his homework
Student 2 needs to tell me that so and so said a bad word
Student 3 didn’t want to stand in line for breakfast and wants to go back
Student 4 wants to know what happens if she doesn’t turn in her project
Student 5 wants pass out birthday invitations to the class next door
This is all before announcements.  The actual lesson involves keeping the ones who get it engaged and challenged, helping the ones who don’t get it, dealing with computer glitches, kids who have forgotten their password, broken pencils, dried up markers,  the classroom cut up, and the constant temptation for the kids to chatter, keeping  track of the time spent on each subject, scheduled bathroom breaks, recess, lunch, etc, etc.
Multitasking is stressful, which brings me to the TMI.  I love bathroom breaks.  Sometimes, I don’t even have to go to the bathroom.  I just go in there during my scheduled 3 minutes and read my email on my phone without any interruptions.  Those three minutes are like the brief pause of the rollercoaster when it reaches the top of a hill, just before it goes roaring back down.

They say that to truly appreciate something you have to lose it, at least for a while.  During those 3 minutes, I truly appreciate the quiet, the stillness, and the ability to concentrate on one thing at a time.