Taking Time Out

All, Rants, Teaching

This week the Kentucky Writing Project took me on a retreat to Cumberland Falls State Park. It was everything a retreat should be: A lovely place with good company and delicious food and support for my work. However, the real gift was the time built into our schedule to work and to think. I have written before about the need for reflection – both for ourselves and our students.

I value reflection so much that I make it an assignment and regularly dedicate class time to reflection. While I do spend time regularly reflecting on my work and planning, one important element that is missing is giving myself significant chunks of time just to think about a specific project. This week was a wake up call to remind myself that the gift of time is the greatest gift that I can give myself when I am working on a large and/or thorny project. But it was also a reminder that my students live equally frantic and full lives and I need to set aside more class time for simply thinking and working.

We often hear that this gift of dedicated time to write and reflect is one of the highlights of our Invitational Summer Institutes, but all too often the leaders don’t take this time and instead use it to plan and prepare for the next day or deal with other leadership issues. I think this is a trap that we all fall into. There are always things that need to be done and life crowds out the opportunity to think and reflect and focus on just one task. However, this summer I am going to do a better job of making sure I take more time for myself to think, write, and reflect. Maybe I can get back in the habit of dedicated time to focus on just one project. Hopefully I can give this gift to my students as well.

Do you dedicate significant chunks of time to think and work on your own projects? Do you plan significant time for your students to work on large projects? Do you think we all need a time out?

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