So last blog entry, for now.
The debate topic around unplugging came at an interesting time for teachers: summer vacation has a connotation of “unplugging” around it. Unplugging from work stress, marking, emails, phone calls, and student nagging. I’ll assume it was genius to put this debate last on the part of Alec and Katia 😉
I’ve noticed, in my current land on being inundated with emails, that sometimes I prefer to unplug and go find the colleague to actually ask them in person. (This article provided by the agree team goes more in depth about why I would want to talk to someone in person.) There’s a lot of subtext that cannot be explored within an email (namely, tone) that needs non-verbal cues in order to be understood.
During a bit of preliminary research for this topic, I discovered there’s actually a National Day of Unplugging (we missed it by a couple months, though). It’s an interesting concept: connectiveness has become such a ubiquitous thing that we need a day specifically set aside to justify unplugging.
There are all kinds of add-ins for tools like Chrome, that can limit your browsing and tech use. Getting my toddler to lock my phone for two hours has a similar effect.
“Digital detoxes” are becoming a trend and creating business opportunities that didn’t exist before, complete with how to’s. This concept didn’t exist five, ten years ago. It’s a new business and a new job. Maybe these are the jobs we’re training our kids for?
The idea that we need to unplug should give weight to the agree side’s argument, because clearly, if there wasn’t a need to unplug, we wouldn’t even consider it. Because it has become such a large topic, it deserves some credibility. Maybe we do spend too much time in front of screens (as evidenced by the hours it takes me to write blog entries…) Maybe, if we really do need to be connected, we can do it outside?
Right now, it’s a glorious, sunny 20C outside. While I have to squint at my screen, I’m enjoying writing this outside. It’s summertime and with summer comes a renewed need to reconnect with nature rather than my email. Out of a staff of 100+ people, I’m the only one outside. To me, that’s a really sad reality.
I do believe that people need to unplug from their technology. But, I also understand we live in a world where connections via the internet are important to everyday life. I do need to access my email during the day. I’ve been really guilty of checking my email when I get home or on the weekends. I think I need to institute a new rule with myself that Katherine advocated: no email after 5pm. I think it’s really important to draw a balance between work and personal life.
As a teacher, I jealously guard my personal life. Because teaching is such a personal job, and it requires so much of my compassion, care, and connection with there are some parts of myself that I like to keep teacher-free. Unplugging from work allows me to do that. It prevents electronic intrusions into my time with my family.
Balance, I think, should be a watchword for the class: everything we’ve discussed is essentially a matter of balance, whether it is teacher training, parental control, access to technology, budgetary concerns, sharing over social media, and how much time we put into screens. It all comes down to yes, too much is no good. But too little is also just as bad. We need to find a middle road in order to properly use technology to its fullest potential.
So, with those final thoughts, excuse me while I go and read my (paper) book. It’s been a great semester!