I really struggle to finish a book these days. But part of my #18for2018 was to read 11 books and record them on GoodReads, so now I’m accountable.
A few months ago I downloaded Rosie Waterland’s ‘The Anti-Cool Girl’ onto the Kindle app on my iPad. I started it in December and finally finished it today (I’m not proud of how long it took me!!). The following thoughts come from my own head – I wasn’t asked to review this book, I haven’t been paid…blah blah blah.
It gets into the deep nitty-gritty of life. The trials and tribulations of a child, through to an adult. It’s crude and honest…and not usually the kind of book I’d read, despite me being a huge biography lover.
What it brought home to me most though, was the focus on the ‘anti-cool’ students in our classroom. Rosie Waterland talks about her school experience, not being accepted by friends, being pulled out of class by welfare officers and spending time and time again in foster homes. Having parents and de facto parents who drank and smoked and did drugs at all hours of a school night.
How many of our students come to school sleep deprived because their parents were arguing late into the night? Or have no food for school…or breakfast…or dinner?
How many of our students are wearing uniforms that they’ve washed themselves, or maybe haven’t been washed in weeks, or have been worn by three older siblings and are now falling apart at the seams? Or maybe they dread a casual clothes day because all of their clothes are faded hand-me-downs or from Vinnies and out of fashion.
How many of our students cannot focus because they’re worried about which house they’ll be sleeping at, or how many people they might have to share a bed with?
If I took nothing else away from reading this book, it was that compassion is important.
All those classroom rules we have about being on time to class and coming prepared? They might not need to apply for some kids…as just getting to school is an achievement for them.
Those posters and advertisements we put in the school newsletters about packing a healthy lunch for your child? Probably just important to have some of that nutritious food in the staffroom for those kids who don’t have anyone to pack theirs.
Sometimes the rules don’t apply. Who are the ‘anti-cool’ kids in your class or at your school? Show them some compassion.
The week leading up to the Victorian school holidays, @KatSchrav, as the moderator of @Edutweetoz tweeted this:
As you can see, #digitaldowntime wasn’t a major priority for me – I hadn’t really thought about it, but appreciated its value.
However, it got me thinking… I need to schedule it in.
My first thought was to have Technology Free days – you know, no phone, no tv, no iPad, no laptop… but to be honest, that would be fairly difficult for me. I use all of those things (apart from the tv) during my work day at school.
My second thought was to limit my iPad and laptop use to just at work. But, it would be unfair to limit my technology use to only while at school – all teachers know that there is SOME level of preparation that happens at home, and there is only so much laminating you can do without using the computer to print something else off!
I have opted for this, the third option: switching off from technology outside of school hours for two days per week – Monday and Friday. I asked myself – what will this mean?
It means my iPad and laptop will stay in my bag when I get home until I unpack them at work the following morning. I’ll have to be more organised – no more posting on the class blog when I get home, no more researching a new lesson idea for the following day.
It means I will only use my phone for phone calls, messages and photos – no Facebook, no Twitter, no internet searching, no Pinterest, no frantic recipe searching for dinner (I have enough recipe books in paper format!)
It means that I’ll be able to relax and enjoy some new interests in my life – going to classes at the gym, learning more at aerial yoga, baking and cooking new treats as part of my ‘I Quit Sugar journey’, and playing with my new puppy. I might even have time to have real conversations with the people around me. I can still watch tv…without ‘multi-tasking’ with 6 different browser windows and apps open.
It means that I’ll have to let go of my F.O.M.O. (Fear Of Missing Out) that I experience when I leave the worlds of Facebook and Twitter – what if I miss an important event in my friends’ lives? What if I miss a revolutionary idea that is going to change the education world? What if I don’t read that email from an angry parent and respond immediately? I will have to catch up on Twitter chats that happen on Mondays and Fridays…that’s just how it will be.
I’m only starting on Monday the 14th of July – it’s my Term 3 Resolution.
It’s a wellbeing thing. Switch off. Join me. I dare you.