Teachers, Spend Some Time Offline

Even as I write this title, I realize I'm preaching to myself with this one. School starts in just 13 days, and I probably haven't spent enough time offline and unplugged this summer. I've been doing good things, like using Duolingo and revamping this website and writing this blog series, but I've also had a lot of screen time. At one point this summer, I started going a little crazy after a week of eight-hour days working behind the screen (how do people do this in real life?!). I started realizing that I really need to go out for a morning hike before I can settle in. 

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As teachers there's always more work to do. We take our jobs very seriously. We want the best for our kids... er, students. We believe in them, and we'll do almost anything for them. In addition, we do things for parents and administrators and our own families. But how often do we just unplug? I know I always have my phone in close reach. 

Several years ago, I started taking a weekly sabbath. I started promising myself that I wouldn't check any work emails or even think about work on Sundays. I've often escaped instead to Santa Cruz for a walk on West Cliff, an acai bowl at Cafe Brasil, a time of perusing at Bookshop Santa Cruz, and some coffee at Verve. It's therapeutic for the mind, body, and soul. And yet, I'll still find myself online as I try to rest. 

One of the people I've been challenged by this summer is Claire Ortiz-Diaz, one of the early members of Twitter. I've listened to her talk a bit about her book Design Your Day. Her basic premise is that we have so much noise in our world that we're making ourselves really unproductive. Instead, we could do way more in way less time. Part of that, for her, is taking a digital sabbath. To be honest, I don't know if I'm ready to give up the technology for a whole day (even though I recognize that it's healthy). However, I love the present principle she gives. How often do I reach for my phone first thing when I wake up? I check my email and my calendar before I even give myself the pleasure of a cup of coffee. What if instead I prayed, read, and expressed my thoughts before going through the details and goals of my day? I think I'd find myself more productive and way more at peace. 

So maybe this post is a little more for myself than anyone else. I need to take some time offline and be truly present with my day before I begin to tackle it. I need to savor my coffee and give myself some grace. I'll start with a digital fast before coffee and see if I can work myself up to a whole day.