Look Up: It’s a marathon, not a sprint


Today we had a school fun run to kick off the long weekend and there were so many smiling faces.

A new school year is well underway and it’s time that we take a minute to reflect and connect with those around us. As a technology coach, I am concerned with the screen time of students and staff. However, I think a larger issue in society is our lack of humanity. No, I’m not talking about politics, but rather the basic nature of human contact.

We need to stop, look up and acknowledge the people around us. With our busy schedules, it’s understandable that we always have something we need to do, but that’s the nature of our profession as teachers. We speedwalk the halls of our respective schools, trying not to run, as that’s a faux pas, in order to get to our class, a meeting, lunch, or if time permits the bathroom.

Slow down, look up, make eye contact, then smile. I know this seems silly, but we get so wrapped up in our own worlds that we forget to connect. Perhaps with an encouraging high five, fistbump, or end zone dance.

¬†“Smiling has hormonal and physiological consequences which make us feel better and want to smile more.”1

This is something that I’ve struggled with this year. Students aren’t allowed to use their phones in the hall, but I’ll often be seen holding my computer while walking down the hall still locked into my work. Or checking my watch or phone to stay on top of my unending stream of emails. They will still be there when I get to them later. It’s time to find some balance.

Disconnect from your Technology & Reconnect with Each Other

As a school community, it’s important to connect with one another. Lately, the emphasis has been on using digital communication in the classroom, which is fantastic for documenting, but I believe that’s the reason why we love Flipgrid so much, as it allows us to use video reflections to¬†connect. Or, Mystery Skype sessions with other schools to create a global classroom and make contact in a new and exciting way that is authentic.

Technology is amazing, but we have to use it in moderation in order to maintain a balanced lifestyle. The best way we can teach this to our students is through modeling. Look up from your screen, smile, and acknowledge the people around you. Be present in the moment, not just physically there and you will find your day is more fulfilling.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Weekend and take some time to connect with one another.

1 Furnham, A. (2014, October 31). The Surprising Psychology of Smiling. Retrieved October 06, 2017, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sideways-view/201410/the-surprising-psychology-smiling


2 Responses to “Look Up: It’s a marathon, not a sprint”

  1. Garth Nichols

    I couldn’t agree more, and I love how you bring up the strategy that your school uses. At Havergal, we have a really simple approach to phones in the hallway: don’t walk and text/talk, just park it – find a place that is out of the way, and non-disruptive. That is for the hallways – but the classrooms are more left up to the discretion of the teachers. I’d love to see what other schools are doing – perhaps this could be a great strand for Cohort 21 to investigate this year?


  2. Adam Caplan

    We didn’t exactly ‘amend’ our technology policy, but we are now enforcing a rule that was always there. Upper School students keep their phones in their lockers during class periods unless requested to bring them for an activity.

    While part of me has concerns about the fluidity of easily integrating technology into the classroom by allowing students to have their devices on hand, the other part is concerned about the addictiveness of much modern phone use. I am now starting to prioritize a healthy, effective, nourishing relational culture in our hallways over the students’ ability to independently navigate this new attack on their attention and self-discipline.

    If you are interested in reading more on the topic, I recommend enjoying “The End of Absence” by Vancouverite Michael Harris or “The Joy of Missing Out” by Christina Schindler. Both endorse your observations on the importance of communities connecting with one another.

    As musician Dave Borins sings, “staring into eyeballs, not pixels”…

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