Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Busy Doesn't Equal "Not Bored"

I have really been struggling to find my voice over the past couple of weeks. The month of March has been ridiculously busy so far. I spent the first week of March trying to recuperate from snow days and triage my lesson plans and pacing guide after missing seven school days in three weeks. Then I spent the second week of March at SXSWedu in Austin experiencing so many fantastic panels and sessions and meeting so many wonderful people in the ed tech landscape. Now, I'm spending the third week of March PARCC testing my students and scrambling to get grades posted for report cards, so that I can enjoy spring break during the fourth week of March. And just like that, the month of March is gone.

Each time I've had a moment to breathe in the past two or three weeks, I've opened my laptop to blog, and nothing productive has come out of my brain. I've deleted several drafts after reading them and feeling like there was nothing there that I really wanted to say. It's been so frustrating to have so many thoughts in my brain and feel like I can't really articulate them in any kind of cohesive way.

However, for the past week I have had the same quote ringing through my brain, and it won't go away. One of the keynote speakers at SXSWedu this year was Emily Pilloton, the founder and director of Project H. During her presentation about empowering kids through design, she said, "No one has any reason, in the entire world, to be bored. There are so many things that need to be done." Dang.

Now, I know this statement to be true. I preach it to my students every day. I have this Louis CK poster in my room to remind my students every day that they literally have zero reasons to be bored every day.
But here's the thing. I think sometimes we confuse being busy with being "not bored." And I think that is something that I do constantly. I love teaching kids, and I work in a vibrant, exciting school culture. I am constantly saying yes to any opportunity that comes my way because I don't want to miss out on anything that could make me a better, stronger, wiser version of my teaching self. I'm more busy than I probably need to be. Over this past year, I feel like I've written several posts about feeling overwhelmed, yet I just keep adding things to my life plate. Maybe it's not about being busy. Maybe it's about finding the thing that really, really needs to be done and working hard to make it happen. 

As a teacher, I sometimes feel like I'm spinning my wheels and struggling to fit in all the required things that need to be accomplished in a class period and in an instructional day. I think sometimes just the monotony of that kind of rote busyness can be exhausting. Last week in Austin, I presented on a panel with three other educators about the importance of hacking professional development and allowing time for teachers to explore more passion-based professional learning. I know after coming back from Austin, I feel so incredibly excited to innovate in new ways in my classroom instruction, and I don't want to let that excitement wane as I "actively monitor" during PARCC testing this week.  I want to model for my students that it's not ok to say "I'm bored." There are so many things that need to be done.