I invested in a house in South Haven, Michigan over 10 years ago. It is a small beach town that our family and friends congregate at in the warm summer months. The town is very quiet in the early springtime. There are virtually no tourists during those times.
Over the last few days, I worked on a bedroom. I do some construction work on the side and like to build with my hands. In the evenings, after dinner, I would relax and read. Our home has no television or internet. Some people would think that to be a horrible thing. I don’t. It forces one to be alone with their thoughts. I would read for a while and then just stop and listen to the noise. In teaching, I am constantly talking to people. It is a loud and very active environment. I am always on the go. There is virtually no down time during my day. When I hit a quiet time like this, I feel like I get reenergized.
"I don’t feel we challenge students to be alone with their thoughts enough."
While I was alone in my thoughts, I realized that students are in the same fast paced school environment. I don’t feel we challenge students to be alone with their thoughts enough. The type of alone that has no phones or internet. The type of quiet they fear the most. My bet is that students when left alone without any technology would read or write and reflect on who they are. I remember I read my first novel because I had nothing “better” to do. Most of my big ideas in my teen years came from moments of quiet and reflection. I think we need to build more of these moments into the school day for students to take time and think and exit the fast pace for awhile. Let’s rethink how to change the school day in order for more reflection and quiet moments.