Recently I saw a video by John Spencer that about his “Break up with Busy”
It resonated with me. I have made myself consumed by busy ever since I started teaching. I justified it as advancing my career and becoming a better teacher. I participated on countless committees, became department chair, and ended up Union President. Busy and I were constant friends. What was the cost? Was it worth it?
Reflecting on education busy is a precise word to describe our current system. Students are busy being forced to learn at a prescribe rate and order. Homework and assessments are doled out to monitor successes and failures of busy. I look at all the “busy” worksheets by 7 year olds bring home from their 1st grade classroom, keeping them busy in the name of practice and learning. My 6th grader struggles balancing his 6 class schedule. Busy is his friend at school. He has to quickly shift gears from Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Band and a rotating specials class. When he comes home he often forgets most of the learning that occurred. Are our students too busy to learn? After reading a few Shadow a Student Challenge blog post, most observers would say yes.
Our students are also busy at home participating in extracurricular activities. Having 3 kids, our family has after school activities 4 nights a week, ranging from dance to scouts to sports practice. Many of my students have similar busy lives. Some work, play sports, volunteer their time or have a hobby. What is the affects of all of this busy on our students?
Maybe the next generation has it figured out. Millennials desire a work life balance more than any generation before. They need instant gratification and recognition for their efforts. My students resist work if the purpose is not clearly shown. Students often don’t see the balance between school and their life or the gratification from their school efforts. Is this busy culture in schools harming them?
Lets move schools away from busy towards mindful purposeful learning!