professornana (professornana) wrote,
professornana
professornana

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Hurry Up or Take Your Time?

My BH told the former residents of the back bedroom that if they arrived at any appointment 10 minutes early, they were still running late. He instilled in them the need to prepare and plan ahead so that, when they arrived, they were composed and relaxed. I subscribe to much the same school of thought when it comes to getting from Point A to Point B. As someone who has driven in Houston and survived all these years, I know that being in a hurry can be dangerous. Take this morning as I headed to campus for another office day. As i drew near to Huntsville I was surprised at the amount of traffic. I had forgotten that today was the first day of classes for the spring semester. There were lots of frantic folks in cars trying to find parking spaces at 7:45. It is even more frenetic at 7:55! I once had a student (hey, the parking decal was in the front window, easy to pick them out) who passed me on the shoulder of the interstate one morning. The speed limit here is 75 mph. So, he had to be doing at least 80 on the shoulder. Shudder.

Why the stories about traffic you might wonder? They were what flitted through my mind as I read this article: http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/12/we-are-creating-walmarts-of-higher-education/282619/ entitled WE ARE CREATING WAL MARTS OF HIGHER EDUCATION. There is a tendency in higher ed to push kids through faster. Quite a few years ago, the state demanded we cut hours from the degree requirements for teacher education (and come to think of it all the while complaining about the quality of teachers). Gone were classes in literature for children and young adults. Gone were other mainstay classes. All in the name of graduating them faster. Faster is not always better, folks. The old adage about stopping to smell the roses is there for a reason, right? Why are we in such a hurry?

Put another way: why are we always preparing kids for what comes NEXT (college and career, anyone?) instead of preparing them for what is happening NOW? I saw a blog post the other day insisting we teach kids how to file tax returns. While I think financial literacy is a fine thing for kids to know before they are handling their own finances (how can I be out of money when I still have checks?), I do think there are some things that can wait. We are pushing them to read ABOVE their grade levels, to move from picture books to longer and more complex texts. I mean kindergarten ready? Really? Benchmarking in elementary school?

When will we be content to allow children to linger in childhood? Sometimes it is just wonderful to slow down, to un-hunch the shoulders, to lie down on that nap mat, to be silly. At the office this week, my colleagues and I had our silly turns. We began playing the hashtag game a la Timberlake/Fallon. It made the meeting so much more fun, and how often can you say that about a meeting. So, stop. Take a break. Read a book (even if it is NOT at the right level/lexile). Slow down. Smell the roses. Sip the coffee, Enjoy the time.

And happy birthday to my sister, Jo Ann today. I love that we can slow down for one another and be silly, too. Love you.
Tags: time
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