I’ve been reflecting on the need for balance this weekend. One of the books I am currently reading, Cultivate by Lara Casey, is challenging me to look at my life and purposefully choose an area to cultivate. In mulling this over I have realized that the balance in my life between work and play is off kilter. I don’t allow myself to rest or do something just for fun very often. Instead, I tend to work, work, work and work some more. I like my “to do” list and the satisfaction of crossing things off it and getting things done. Sadly, how I see myself is often affected by whether or not I have been productive, efficient, and effective.
Last term I had a class that was VERY demanding. It stretched me in so many ways. I thrived in that class. I learned and grew and got much better at seeing progress in the imperfect. This term I have an extremely easy class with very little demands outside of the hours I put in at my field placement. Most of what I am learning this term I am learning by doing, and I AM learning. But it feels so weird not to be constantly pushing and straining. I am struggling to allow myself to breathe. Sure, it has been great finally getting to a few projects around the house, creating a blog for my side business of teaching art to homeschool students, and actually spending an entire weekend with my family, but still I am wrestling with a feeling of not doing enough. I am working on letting go of the side of me that gets too focused on things that are task oriented and cultivate the restful, playful side.
This balance is necessary in classrooms as well. Learners should have times where they are pushing, stretching and growing but in order to be whole beings, they also need time to rest, be creative, and have fun. I want to be purposeful in developing an atmosphere for learning that encourages students to work hard and do their best AND also allows students to have time to kick back a bit and work on projects or activities that are lower stress. Students should have time to explore a variety of activities and find out what they enjoy, what are they passionate about. When they do find that passion, they should be given time to invest in that subject. To dig deep and set goals and fail and then try a different approach, with time to breathe in between.
I would be interested to hear how you create this balance both in your own life, and in your classroom.
Thanks for reading,