Noisey posted this documentary on December 1, 2016, I Saw The Light. I watched it today. It's a well-made little film about Christian evangelical culture's relationship with music.
I attended a few Christian festivals with my church youth group: Sonfest in Abbotsford and Jesus Northwest in Vancouver, Washington, both in the mid-90s. As a Christian teenager, I had a good time at those festivals. I admit that I enjoyed the concert elements far more than preaching or "worship," so perhaps I didn't get the full experience as described in the documentary. But I remember feeling really good and meeting lots of other Christians who introduced me to really great music. I still listen to some of that music, even 20 years later, even after my faith has long gone.
A few days ago, I was filling up a couple booklets with CDs for my car. Going through the old CDs—all on spools at this point—I was a little bit floored that I had such a significant Christian music collection: Larry Norman, Randy Stonehill, Daniel Amos, Starflyer 59, etc.. I'll probably keep those CDs forever; they're an essential part of my collection.
Funny thing is, I've had The Hold Steady's "Chillout Tent" running through my head for the last few days, which tells a very different music festival story. Enjoy:
Should I feel guilty about enjoying this lovely, melodic, narrative drug-trip song? The Ottawa School Board might think so.
Makes me wonder what the Shewens are up to these days.
Tomorrow, here at the school, is a Professional Development Day, and hundreds of judgemental teachers will pass through the building. Dozens will enter my classroom and quietly judge me based on my classroom's appearance. So I tried to tidy up a little.
It's still a mess, but at least it's a little less of a mess.
When I saw the tweet above, I started thinking and tweeting aggressively; I'm going to try to transfer that energy here.
I read both articles at The Atlantic—"Why Introverted Teachers are Burning Out" (January 25 2016) and "When Schools Overlook Introverts" (September 28 2015)—and found myself both affirmed and discouraged: affirmed because it was nice to see that other people might also see introverts' struggles with the highly social environments encouraged by 21st Century Eduucation, and discouraged because I was hoping these thoughts would continue to simmer below the surface of my daily consciousness—and disappear there.
I understand that personality labels are merely shorthand, but I share a lot of characteristics attributable to introverts. Generally, although I can be social I need time to recharge on my own; I get overwhelmed by large, continuous, unpredictable social situations. At a recent counselling appointment, when I told my counselor that I'm an introvert, she looked at me and said, "How can you be an introvert and keep yourself going in so many social situations?" I told her that I generally like people and that I generally see the good in people, that I can coast and improvise skilfully, and that I take care of myself through the day. As far as introverts go, I'm OK at bouncing between social situations and antisocial ones.
But introversion has led me to second-guess my decision to be a teacher. It's a lot of talking all day long and the performance gets tiresome. There are plenty of days when I don't really have a chance to recharge and I fall further and further behind. By the time I get home, I'm shutting down and using avoidance and emotional withdrawal tactics with my own family. And that's not good.
In the meantime, education is heading down a path of individualization. As a participant in the education system with introverted characteristics, these are some of my concerns:
Every lunch break, I spend most of my time in my classroom. At the school where I teach, the school culture doesn't really expect students to skip out on their lunch to get work done, but I like to tell people that I stay in my classroom because I want to be available for students anyhow. However, after 15 minutes or so, if no students show up, I usually close my door and keep to myself. I have had many different extroverted staff members at multiple schools ask why they so rarely see me in the staff room; I tell them it's my recharging time.
But with all the demands of teaching in schools today, I can't help but feel like it's not enough--like a lonely lunch break is just not enough for me to make it through the day.
So when I see articles like these, I feel a little less alone. And perhaps I can squeeze a few more years out of this career despite my incessant introversion. But I have somewhat high hopes that the increased individualization and destruction of classroom-based models might make more room for introverts like myself. Perhaps, beneath the rubble of the archaic content-area-based system, I and fellow introverts will find a place where we can master our learning and recharge our batteries appropriately.
Last week I had the opportunity to take part in the BCSSA's semi-annual conference for educators. I attended as a teacher representative for my district. I stayed at the Westin Bayshore in Coal Harbour, Vancouver, BC, right above where the conference itself took place. Overall, I had a good time.
Knowing that I would be encouraged to do a lot of tweeting during the conference, I set up a new Twitter account in order to address more education-based tweets; I had no interest in filling people's feeds with my usual sets of links and reflections. Fortunately, my phone makes it easy to switch between the two accounts.
I tweeted a lot.
For example, I used my clip-on 12x lens to take these photos of the keynote speakers, namely Robert Marzano and Dr. Norman Doidge:
And I tweeted lots of responses to speakers and presenters. For example,
Now, I'm fully aware that I don't use my hashtags with skill or aplomb, and I rarely tweet incendiary comments in order to drum up controversy. I enjoyed writing tweets while people presented; it worked as an interesting way to frame my notes and memories from the content. It felt a little rude to be looking at a screen now and then while presenters were making their points, but it was fun and generally served its purpose.
Unless your purpose was actual networking and meeting real life people. I didn't meet a single one of the people with whom I shared a Twitter dialogue. All those tweets and I didn't come out of it with a single new connection. All that screentime without a new face.
The only people I really met were people I met face-to-face without the aid of a phone.
What's the point, then? Why spend all this time tweeting if you don't get to meet a real person out of it?
All of this only shows me one thing: that if I'm crummy at meeting people in real life, Twitter is not the method I need to use to facilitate more connections.
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