Many of you are already on summer holidays, and in my envious haze, I find myself scrambling for a topic to write about. It could be that my reflective powers are decreasing due to the warm summer breeze, and my time spent in the hammock reading the hard-to-put-down novel, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo“. I seem to have more interest in listening to the first cicadas of the summer, then working on my lesson plans. My ability to focus has greatly diminished as I go into my last official week of teaching, and for this I have no shame. It is time for a break.
Interestingly, it is in this need for rest that I am able to find a topic to write about.
In recent weeks, I’ve noticed that my participants’ ability to focus has also been on a steep decline. They have been diligently working away at creating presentations and micro-teaching lessons. They have been feeling exhausted, and stressed, and are in dire need of a break.
On a few occasions, some participants have asked me if they could rest instead of participating in class activities. I said yes, but was not completely confident in my responses.
The teacher within me who values a supportive and caring atmosphere where everyone can feel like their needs are a high priority, had no problem saying yes. However, the teacher within me who wants to make sure the other participants stay on task, questioned how this allowance would effect their work. If you are also feeling exhausted, wouldn’t it seem unfair that one participant takes a rest while you work? Wouldn’t this inhibit your performance of the task at hand?
In the moment I trusted that the others understood the situation. I trusted that they could empathize with the participants and with me. I think I was able to make this allowance because I teach adults. Would I make the same choice if I taught middle or high school students? Could I trust their ability to understand one student’s need for rest, while understanding my need for them to stay on task? I think this is where me doubt really begins.
What do you think? How can we let our students rest if they really need it, without disrupting the work flow of others in the class?