Friday, July 12, 2013

Connected Educator Fatigue: It's Okay to Take a Break

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I'm the first one to vouch for the importance of being a connected educator. I love conferences where I get to meet my Twitter /online author and teacher friends up close and personal. I also take time to comment on blogs, share, and try to write when the self-discipline strikes me ;-)  Let's just say I have lots of ideas, half-written posts, and an enormous storehouse of writer's block excuses that get in the way of me hitting that "publish" button.

Sometimes, though, I feel signs that I am needing a break from it all, a time to refresh, take care of me and my face to face loved ones who share the ups and downs of everyday life with me live and up close.  

Here are the tell-tale signs that I need to take a step back:  

  1. When I read someone advocating for "sharing what is going on in the classroom," I feel a surge of panic and anxiety, with pangs of guilt because I haven't blogged lately. I do believe that I should share, but I don't think it should have such a profound way of inducing guilt. 
  2. When I see a friend tweet of a promotion, an opportunity, I feel envious or jealous instead of joy for them. 
  3. If I get an email or message from a friend, asking me to update a bio or participate in a hangout and I feel like running away.. far far away! 
  4. When I feel like the world just wants way too much from me and I just can't do it all. 
  5. When I feel a sense of panic after not replying to someone's email that same day! 

Below is a Haiku Deck I created to express the idea that it's okay to think before saying yes. It's called, "Beautiful No", a term shared by my wise mindfulness teacher, Dr. Amy Saltzman. I think that if I learn to choose more wisely the things I say yes to,  I will have fewer examples like those posted above.

How do you know it's time to take a break? I'd love to hear how you manage being a connected educator! 


Nancy C said...

Hi Joan,
Thanks so much for your post! It's timely because I have been feeling guilty about "taking a break". It's not that I don't want to participate - but I just need time to step away from the technology that I so love.

It really helps to hear "it's okay" from someone I respect, like you!

Take care.


Michelle Haseltine said...

Thank you for this post. The permission to say NO is an important reminder. :)

Mr. Clark said...

Nice Post!

I totally relate to what you're saying. I have three young children and it seems it's harder for me to be connected in the summer! I had great plans to 'get more connected' during the summer but it's turning out that I will not be. I need to spend time with my family, help my wife out and be a dad!

It's nice to see someone reflect on this! Thanks!

Joan Young (aka Mancini) said...

Thanks so much for the comments! It really helps to know I am not alone :-) Seriously, we all know the value of being connected, but we need balance too! Hope you all have restful breaks when you need them :)

BethStill said...

Hi Joan,
The first couple of years that I was a connected educator my life was consumed by it. I felt that if I stepped away for too long that I would get left behind or I would miss something important. I stumbled across this graph from Jeff Utecht that helped me gain some perspective:

As I have gained more confidence in both myself and the connections I have it has become easier to step away. Stepping away for a while helped me gain some much needed emotional strength.

Joan Young said...

Thanks, Beth, for sharing Jeff's post. It helps so much to hear that others have encountered these experiences along the way. I have come to realize much of the same: that people don't forget you if you take a little break, yet I still struggle at times feeling like I don't share enough of my classroom experiences here.
Thanks for the wisdom!

Tracy Watanabe said...

Hi Joan,

The most influential mentor in my life is someone that always took time alone to meditate; then took time to be with His inner circle of friends to refresh; and once those two things were done, He'd reach the masses of people. After reaching groups and groups of people, He'd need alone time to reflect and refuel, and would take off to the mountains... If that's what Jesus did, then I think we ought to follow the same strategy.

Thanks, Joan, for your post to remind me of this.

Kind regards,