Sunday, September 12, 2010

Disconnect to Reconnect

Since we're continuing to work on personal narrative in 7th and 8th grade pre-AP English, I've had the opportunity to get to know a lot about the kids in my classes this past week.  One exercise we did in class involved students sharing the things they like, or love, or can't live without.  An 8th grade boy got up to share, and this was his first comment:

"Without electronics, I don't know where I'd be--probably curled up in a corner somewhere."

Of course we all laughed at this.  The kids laughed, I died laughing, and my mentor teacher just shook her head and smiled.  But, I mean, if we really think about it, we are all addicted to electronics.  I can honestly admit that I don't know where I'd be without my iPhone.  I use my GPS and maps constantly to aid in my sometimes dicey sense of direction; I constantly check and update Facebook and Twitter, and, let's be real, I'm sitting here typing out into the nothingness of the electronic world right now for all (or no one) to see.  As a society we love to broadcast ourselves, and we love to be constantly connected.

But what happens when we choose these forms of connectedness?  I think we lose a sense of true human interaction when it's so easy to communicate without speaking.  We can text or send Facebook messages all day long, but how does that affect our capacity to sit down and have meaningful conversation?  My poor, sweet 14-year-old sister had to have her text messaging taken away, because she couldn't have a sit-down conversation for longer than five minutes without checking her phone, and I'm sure she's not the only 14-year-old to have this problem.  I teach about 125 more of them everyday now.

So the wisdom of the week is this: Sometimes, you have to disconnect to reconnect.  My goal this week is to disconnect myself.  Give my Facebook and iPhone and everything else a little break and have a meaningful conversation with someone each day.  Like a real, live face-to-face conversation.  I'm pretty sure I can do long as I can find someone else who can disconnect long enough to join me...

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