The Benefits of Doing Nothing
Walk into any classroom and you are likely to see the teacher doing stuff. They’re lecturing, meeting with students, conferencing, planning, assessing, entering data, designing units, or circulating throughout the room. Few teachers give themselves permission to do nothing. But they should. Doing nothing is important.
When I say doing nothing, I of course mean doing nothing outwardly. While it may appear that we our sitting at our desks and counting the ceiling tiles, our brains are busy at work.
The reality is that teachers don’t spend enough time thinking because we’re so busy doing.
Our Best Ideas
Our best ideas often come to us when we are idle. Before I started this blog, I was an aspiring novelist and in the course of telling a story, I’d often get stuck. I couldn’t figure out what should happen next. The worst thing I could do was think more about the problem. Usually, my best ideas came when I left the work alone and did something mindless. It’s hard to come up with great ideas on the spot or when we’re under pressure to do so.
The same thing happens with teaching. I have very few innovative ideas in February. But in the summer, when my mind is rested and I’m not stressed out from long days in the classroom, I regularly come up with new things to try for the upcoming school year. Teachers need to set aside time to just sit and think.
Sitting and thinking, instead of always doing, provides teachers with the mental space to be creative. I keep a notebook where I write down things to try in the classroom, and once a month I force myself to just sit and think of stuff. Ideas can come from books, blogs, colleagues, social media, or my favorite place, left field.
Time to think allows teachers to actually reflect on what’s working and what isn’t. We’re all told how important it is to reflect on our lessons. It’s part of every teacher evaluation system I know of. But most The Benefits of Doing Nothing - Teacher Habits: